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2 kinds of sobriety tests to learn about

On Behalf of | Jan 11, 2024 | Drunk Driving

A driver who is suspected of drinking may be pulled over by the police. The police can do several things to gather evidence against the driver. They can begin by asking the driver questions, such as if they were drinking, where they were driving from or if they know why they were being pulled over.

The best way for the police to gather evidence against a driver is by having the driver perform sobriety tests. There are many kinds of sobriety tests. Here’s what you should know:

Standardized field sobriety tests (SFST)

The police may begin by asking a driver to perform a standardized field sobriety test. An SFST is a kind of physical examination. There are three kinds of SFSTs sanctioned by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus test
  • One-legged stand test
  • Walk-and-turn test

The police can also ask drivers to perform non-standardized field sobriety tests (NSFST), such as hopping on one leg or spelling words backward. SFSTs and NSFSTs are evaluated by the police’s best judgment, which means they can be inaccurate.

Chemical sobriety tests

Because field sobriety tests are not always accurate and drivers may refuse to do them, the police may have drivers take chemical sobriety tests. Chemical sobriety tests evaluate the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC). There are three kinds of chemical sobriety tests:

  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests
  • Breath tests

Blood tests may be the most accurate out of the three, but breath tests are often preferred. Blood and urine tests have to be done at hospitals or police stations, but breath tests are portable, which is why they’re so popular.

None of these tests is infallible. Drivers who face a drunk driving charge may want to learn more about how to challenge a test result as well as other defense options.