When an officer suspects you of driving under the influence, they will likely subject you to one or several sobriety tests. One of the first may come from a group of testing called field sobriety tests.
But what is a field sobriety test? And what happens if you fail one?
VeryWell Mind examines the impact a field sobriety test may have. First, a field sobriety test does not hold as much weight as one might think. This is due to the inherent bias that often impacts results. Field sobriety tests get measured by the testing officer. For standardized tests, they have a unified rubric to use. However, this still allows for bias to influence their overall opinion even within the parameters of the rubric.
Because of this, the courts often view field sobriety test results as supporting evidence at best. Many prosecutors will not rely on it at all, or will simply use it to prove they had reasonable cause to arrest you.
But this does not mean failing a field sobriety test has no consequences whatsoever. If you fail a field sobriety test, it can lead to arrest due to probable cause. It can also result in an officer using other methods of DWI testing on you, such as breath or blood analysis tests. Failing these tests may cause a much bigger problem, and you can also get in trouble if you try to avoid taking them.
As a result, field sobriety test results can end up affecting you in a somewhat roundabout way. If you fail a field sobriety test, you may want to seek legal help.