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Can field sobriety tests get you convicted?

Law enforcement in Florida have different methods of testing sobriety levels. Field sobriety tests fall under this category. Though officers use these tests often, how much weight do they hold in court?

Today we will look at field sobriety tests and their place in DUI related cases. We will see if a failed field sobriety test puts charged individuals at risk.

Standardized vs non-standardized tests looks at standardized and non-standardized field sobriety tests. Officers often turn to standardized field sobriety tests between the two. These tests have a rubric by which officers grade. This helps cut down on the possibility of personal bias affecting test results. The results of non-standardized tests depend on the officer that issued the test. Because of that, it is less subjective.

Subjectivity in standardized tests

Still, even standardized tests are subjective to a level. This is because it is not an airtight way of determining if someone is not sober. For example, one test is the walk-and-turn. In it, an officer checks a driver’s balance by asking them to walk heel-to-toe in a line. They must then turn on their heel and head back in the same way. People who are not sober tend to have poor balance. They find it difficult to complete this task.

But people with medical conditions also have trouble balancing at times. Someone who is sober but has a disease or disorder may fail a field sobriety test. In reality, they were not over the blood alcohol content limit.

For this reason, officers and courts do not rely on the results of field sobriety tests to convict a driver. If you failed a field sobriety test, it is no guarantee you will face conviction.


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