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What aspects do field sobriety tests measure?

On Behalf of | Mar 26, 2022 | Dui Defense |

There may be few things in life as stressful as being involved in a routine traffic stop on Georgia roads, even if it only results in a warning or a request to fix a burnt-out taillight. However, should authorities suspect the presence of impairment, you might be aware of your legal rights or how best to approach the process. 

During such a stop, officers may request that you step out of the vehicle and perform a set of tests known as field sobriety tests. The SFST may consist of three separate tests, each of which measures certain aspects of behavior, and the results thereof could have a significant impact on the outcome of your situation. 

What do SFSTs measure? 

While you may be familiar with the term field sobriety test, you might not be fully aware of how these tests function and what factors might influence their results. These tests may measure various aspects, such as: 

  • Eye movement:  The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus is one of three SFSTs and this test may seek to gauge your ability to focus on and track an object without exhibiting rapid eye movement or losing sight of the object. 
  • Coordination:  The Walk-And-Turn test may require you to walk back and forth in a straight line, and using your arms for aid or leaning may be two examples of indicators officers might watch out for. 
  • Balance:  The One-Leg Stand Test is the third type of SFST. This requires you to stand on one foot with the other just off the ground, and officers might use this test to measure your ability to balance without swaying. 

Although you may retain the right to refuse to perform field sobriety tests, such a decision might not always be in your best interests. Knowing your rights and options may be vital to making informed choices about your situation. 

Test results 

While prosecutors may use the results of field sobriety test results as evidence of impairment, there may still be certain scenarios in which the information gathered might not always be accurate. Factors such as health conditions could skew performance and lack of proper training in administering such tests may lead to inaccurate data.  

If a traffic stop leaves you facing DUI charges, it could be helpful to consider seeking guidance on your options and in addressing the evidence and charges against you. Such insight might play an integral role in helping you create a strategy with which to safeguard your interests and pursue the most favorable outcome achievable during subsequent court proceedings. 


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