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Standardized and non-standardized field sobriety tests

When a driver gets pulled over in Virginia and is suspected of driving under the influence, they may be asked to take a field sobriety test. There are two different types of these tests: standardized, and non-standardized.

The AAA DUI Justice Link lists the three standardized sobriety tests. Being standardized, all of the tests have the same qualifications that must be met and they can be argued more easily in a court. The three tests include the one-legged stand, the walk-and-turn, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) tests. In the first, balance is checked as the person stands on one foot. In the second, balance and coordination are looked at as a person walks heel-to-toe in a straight line and then turns at the end and walks back. In the third, movements in the eye that could indicate the presence of alcohol are looked for.

Non-standardized tests can be a bit more tricky. Because there's no guideline to follow, it's up to the officer's discretion to interpret things. This can make it easier to take down in a court. FieldSobrietyTests.org provide examples of non-standardized sobriety tests, which include things like reciting the alphabet backwards, touching the finger to the nose, or counting backwards from a certain number.

Either of these types of tests can be administered in the case of someone being suspected for drunk driving. One holds up in court better than the other, but they both serve the same overall purpsoe of trying to determine if a person should be sadled with a DUI charge.

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