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FAQ About Non-Standardized Sobriety Tests

Non-standardized sobriety tests are the opposite of standardized tests, although the two are used for an identical reason. While standardized test results can be admissible in court, non-standardized testing is done purely to establish the officer's probable cause, to determine whether he or she has enough to warrant an arrest. They are not scientifically sound tests, but may be deemed reliable as methods of determining intoxication or impairment when done correctly and used in conjunction with other, more reliable, methods.

Officers must be trained for standardized testing. Do they need training for non-standardized tests too?

No. While police officers receive specialized training and certification to administer standardized field sobriety tests, there is no requirement for formalized training to administer non-standardized sobriety tests.

What are some common examples of non-standardized tests?

Officers typically use non-standardized tests such as the finger-to-nose testing, finger count test, hand-pat test, alphabet tests, and other number counting tests. Some states have other acceptable tests, and some accept fewer, so be sure to ask your DUI attorney what is acceptable in your state.

Do I have to submit to non-standardized testing?

No. You are only required to submit to a chemical test of the officer's choosing which includes the breath test, blood test or urinalysis.

If I don't cooperate with non-standardized testing, could I face additional fines and punishments?

Maybe. Refusal to cooperate can lead to increased and/or additional fines, depending on the circumstances of the case itself and if convicted of drunk driving. Violating an Implied Consent Law (IE, refusing to submit to a chemical test), if one applies in your state, can lead to separate charges, increased fines, maximum penalties, and added punishment.

Why do officers need non-standardized tests if they have breathalyzer machines?

Breathalyzer machines are only used to determine your legal blood alcohol concentration, which should be lower than the legal limit of .08%. Intoxication or impairment could be present without failing a BAC test, so officers need more than one method to determine whether a specific driver is a potential risk to society. Furthermore, an officer needs to have probable cause to effectuate an arrest and one of the best ways to develop probable cause is to have you submit to field sobriety testing.

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