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  4.  » Standardized versus non-standardized field sobriety tests

When a North Carolina resident is suspected of driving under the influence, the police will typically do a field sobriety test in order to check for signs of intoxication. There are two types of these tests: standardized and non-standardized.

Non-standardized field sobriety tests are not used often because they aren’t considered completely reliable in the eyes of the court. There are many types of these non-standardized tests that still get utilized, however. Some examples include:

  • The finger-to-nose test
  • The finger-count test
  • The hand pat test
  • The Romberg balance test
  • The vertical gaze nystagmus test

Standardized field sobriety tests are used most frequently. There are three standardized tests, which include:

  • The walk and turn test: In this test, a driver must walk in a straight line, turn on their heel and walk back without losing their balance.
  • The one-leg stand: For the one-leg stand, a driver is asked to stand with one foot roughly six inches from the ground and count for 30 seconds.
  • The horizontal gaze nystagmus test: This test requires the driver to follow an object with only their eyes as it moves from side to side.

All of these tests, as well as the non-standardized tests, are meant to check for signs of impairment. This includes balance, stability, mobility and how long a person can hold certain poses. However, these tests are not considered foolproof as there can be many reasons a person may fail them. If you failed a field sobriety test, learn about your options.