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Standardized and Non-Standardized Sobriety Tests

Tennessee residents who get pulled over and fall under suspicion of driving while under the influence will usually be subjected to field sobriety tests. These tests allow a police officer to determine if they should go forward with other tests, such as a breathalyzer, or if they should arrest the person in question.

There are two types of field sobriety tests: standardized and non-standardized. According to FieldSobrietyTests.org, standardized field sobriety tests include the walk-and-turn test, the one-leg stand test, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. The first two test a person's ability to hold their balance both in motion and when standing still. The latter allows an officer to check a person's eyes for a certain waver that is usually present in those who are under the influence. These are the tests most likely to be used, because they are the only ones that are standardized and therefore have the best chance if used in court as evidence.

FindLaw takes a look at some of the non-standardized field sobriety tests as well, which are used less often but may still happen. Officers will check a person's sobriety by requesting that they recite the alphabet, count backwards, count the number of fingers that an officer has raised, standing with their head leaned back, or closing their eyes and touching their nose with a finger. These tests are designed to check similar things, like coordination and balance. However, there is no standardization, making it harder to use in court.

Regardless of what test is faced, know that it may be used in court as evidence. Understanding how field sobriety tests fit into the overall DUI-related charges can help a person prepare for their court case.