Knowing what to expect from Standardized Field Sobriety Tests

On Behalf of | Jan 18, 2023 | DUI/OUI |

While being involved in a traffic stop can be stressful enough under any situation, the process may grow even more intimidating should authorities come to suspect the presence of impairment. If you face a similar scenario, you might not know what to expect or how best to safeguard your interests in the process. 

One of the most imposing aspects of a traffic stop for impaired driving could involve the concept of taking part in Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. As the outcome of these tests may have a significant influence on your situation, understanding the purpose of SFSTs could be vital to preparing for this process. 

What do SFSTs measure? 

Studies indicate that there are several types of SFSTs authorities may ask you to perform during a traffic stop for impaired driving. Examples of things they might look for during these tests might include: 

  • Eye movement: The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus is a test that may seek your ability to track an object moving from side to side. Authorities may look for signs such as jerking of the eyes during this test. 
  • Balance: The One-Leg Stand test may task you with holding one foot several inches off the ground while standing on the other without constantly swaying or using your arms for aid in balancing. 
  • Coordination: The Walk-And-Turn test may seek to measure both coordination and balance as you walk back and forth in a straight line. Authorities may watch the length and number of your steps and your balance during turns. 
  • Following instructions: During each of these tests, authorities may also pay close attention to your ability to listen to and follow instructions. This aspect could have a significant impact on your situation. 

It could also be helpful to know that there are a variety of factors that might affect your ability to perform these tests in a satisfactory manner, such as certain health conditions and medications. 

Seeking advice 

While SFSTs may play a significant role during a traffic stop for driving under the influence, the results thereof may hardly be infallible. If the outcome of this process leaves you facing DUI charges, it might be helpful to consider seeking advice on your rights and options and on ways to challenge the charges. In doing so, you could obtain much-needed insight in carefully evaluating your situation and in developing a strategy with which to seek the best outcome possible regarding your future in Massachusetts.