How potent are field sobriety test results?

Officers often turn to field sobriety tests when trying to decide if a driver is under the influence. Because of their frequent use, many drivers know about them. However, the details of their use and purpose sometimes end up obscured.

If you fail a field sobriety test, what are the consequences? Is it something that could come back to haunt you in the future?

The use of field sobriety tests

Very Well Mind discusses the potential ramifications of field sobriety test results. The first thing to note is that field sobriety tests are not an exact science. Even standardized field sobriety tests still have room for plenty of human error and bias. Because of this, the courts do not prioritize it as crucial evidence. At most, its use extends to supporting evidence. Officers often use it as evidence of a valid arrest, too.

Threats of failing a field sobriety test

Despite this, failing a field sobriety test can still impact you. If you fail this test, an officer may decide to give other tests such as a breath or blood analysis. The results from these tests still have room for error, but the margin is much slimmer than it is for field sobriety tests.

As mentioned, an officer can also use a failed field sobriety test result as probable cause to arrest. Once arrested, your chances of facing more serious charges rises exponentially. Needless to say, you want to avoid this possibility at all costs.

Thus, you should know that field sobriety tests do not mean automatic arrest or conviction. At the same time, you should not simply write them off.