FAQ–Sobriety Testing for Vehicular Assault and Vehicular Homicide in Columbus & Central Ohio
Q: What sobriety tests are used in cases of Vehicular Assault and Vehicular Homicide
A: In Ohio cases of Vehicular Assault and Vehicular Homicide which involve alcohol and/or drugs, law enforcement officers administer sobriety tests when the driver is medically able to perform the tests. The tests are used by the officers to determine whether to arrest the driver. The tests are also used by prosecutors as evidence in court. Those sobriety tests include standardized field sobriety tests, non-standardized field sobriety tests, and drug recognition evaluations.
Q: How are standardized field sobriety tests used in cases of Vehicular Assault and Vehicular Homicide
A: In Ohio, officers administer standardized field sobriety tests if a driver is involved in a collision, alcohol and/or drug impairment is suspected, and the driver is medically able to perform the tests. The three tests standardized in the manual issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, the Walk and Turn test, and the One Leg Stand test. Based on underlying research, the tests are designed to predict whether a driver has a blood alcohol concentration of .080 or above.
Q: How are non-standardized field sobriety tests used in cases of Vehicular Assault and Vehicular Homicide
A: In Ohio, Officers sometimes administer non-standardized field sobriety tests when a driver is suspected of being under the influence. Non-standardized field sobriety tests include counting backward, reciting a partial alphabet, the finger dexterity test, the finger-to-nose test, the eye convergence test, and the Modified Romberg test (estimating the passage of 30 seconds with eyes closed). Those tests are described in the manuals issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The non-standardized tests have no criteria for scoring results and no underlying studies to validate the tests or correlate the results with being ‘under the influence’ or ‘over the limit’.
Q: How are drug recognition evaluations used in cases of Vehicular Assault and Vehicular Homicide
A: If a driver is arrested and suspected of being under the influence of drugs in Ohio, an officer may administer a drug recognition evaluation to predict what class of drug impaired the driver. The evaluation must be administered by an officer who is certified as a drug recognition evaluator. The evaluation is a 12-step assessment which includes divided attention tests and pseudo-medical assessments.
Q: How does a lawyer address sobriety testing in cases of Vehicular Assault and Vehicular Homicide
A: In Ohio, for the results of sobriety tests to be admissible as evidence, the test must comply with current testing standards. The current testing standards are contained in manuals published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A lawyer should be thoroughly familiar with those manuals. The lawyer should review video footage of the sobriety tests and, if appropriate, file a motion challenging the admissibility of the tests. If sobriety tests are admitted as evidence, the lawyer should seek to demonstrate why the tests are unreliable or otherwise do not prove the driver was ‘under the influence’ or ‘over the limit’.Lawyers For Vehicular Homicide and Vehicular Assault in Columbus and Central Ohio
The Dominy Law Firm lawyers have expertise in sobriety testing. Our lawyers have completed the course in Field Sobriety Testing and the course in Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement. Those courses used the same curriculum as the courses taken by law enforcement officers. Our attorneys have experience challenging sobriety tests in court and have given presentations to other attorneys about sobriety testing. If you have a case of Vehicular Assault or Vehicular Homicide involving sobriety tests, we can help. To schedule a free phone consultation about representation, please submit a CONTACT FORM or call our office at 614-717-1177.