What are field sobriety tests?

In Illinois, law enforcement may sometimes use field sobriety tests on you during a DUI check. These are one of many DUI tools officers have at their disposal. It is also one of the least invasive, which means it sees frequent use.

There are two types of field sobriety tests. It is important to understand which is which. Knowing why officers use one over the other may help as well.

Non-standardized and standardized field sobriety tests

FieldSobrietyTests.org looks at all types of field sobriety tests. They examine how law enforcement uses them. These tests include nonstandardized field sobriety tests and standardized field sobriety tests. The former is not used often. Why? Because it does not have a universal rubric like standardized tests do. Officers using standardized tests have a set list to compare the test results to. Nonstandardized tests do not. This means judgment rests solely on the officer who gives the test. This allows room for personal bias.

Types of standardized field sobriety tests

There are only three types of standardized field sobriety tests. They include the walk and turn, the horizontal gaze nystagmus and the one-leg stand. These tests check your sobriety levels without measuring blood alcohol content (BAC). They check your balance and ability to follow directions. Officers look for physical signs of intoxication. This can include slurring your speech, red eyes, and being unable to stand upright.

This is not an exact science, though. That means officers do not rely on the results of field sobriety tests in court. It is often used as a way for them to decide if they should do more testing. Understanding this is important. You know not to worry about getting in trouble for one failed sobriety test.