OVI / DUI Field Sobriety Tests In Ohio

Field Sobriety Tests Used For DUI / OVI Cases In Columbus And Central Ohio

The Tests. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) developed standardized field sobriety tests to help law enforcement officers decide whether to arrest people for drunk driving. Officers now administer these tests in nearly every DUI / OVI case. The results of the tests are introduced at trial as evidence that the defendant was driving under the influence or over the limit, and the tests are also used at motion hearings to determine whether the officer's arrest decision was justified.  A small number of Columbus DUI / OVI lawyers, like the Dominy Law firm, have undergone training in field sobriety testing.

The three standardized tests are: (1) Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus; (2) Walk and Turn; and (3) One Leg Stand. The standardized field sobriety tests are described below. There are also non-standardized tests used in Ohio DUI / OVI cases, such as counting backward, reciting part of the alphabet, and touching your nose. Those tests have no standardized procedure and no studies to support their correlation with being under the influence or over the limit. 

How the Dominy Law Firm Can Help. We are certified in field sobriety testing. We have completed the same training in the NHTSA field sobriety testing that law enforcement officers complete. We know how the tests are supposed to be administered, so when we review a cruiser video and/or cross-examine an officer, we know if the officer made mistakes in administering the tests. When officers make mistakes in administering field sobriety tests, the results of the tests may be excluded from trial and may also be excluded from the judge's determination of whether the arrest was justified. An officer’s mistakes on field sobriety tests are also used at trial to counter the officer’s testimony that the tests prove a client was driving under the influence.

The Three Standardized Field Sobriety Tests Used In DUI / OVI Investigations

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN). Horizontal gaze nystagmus is an involuntary jerking of the eyeball as the eyeball moves to the side, and studies conducted for NHTSA conclude that the ingestion of alcohol increases the presence of nystagmus. To test for horizontal gaze nystagmus, an officer has you follow a pen or other stimulus with your eyes. The officer is not simply checking to see if you follow the pen but is instead checking to see if there is nystagmus present. The officer checks for nystagmus in three different ways and scores a "clue" each time nystagmus is observed. The officer checks both eyes individually, so there are a total of six possible "clues". If the officer observes four or more "clues", there is a probability that your Blood Alcohol Content is .08 or higher.

Walk And Turn (WAT). To administer the WAT test, an officer has you stand on a line, walk nine steps (heel-to-toe) down the line, turn around, and walk nine steps back. The officer scores "clues" if you do things such as: lose your balance during the instructions; start too early; fail to touch heel-to-toe; stop walking; step off the line; raise your arms for balance; turn improperly; or take an incorrect number of steps. If the officer observes two or more "clues", there is a probability that your Blood Alcohol Content is .08 or higher.

One Leg Stand (OLS). To administer the OLS test, an officer has you raise one leg so your foot is about 6" off the ground and stand on the other leg with your arms at your sides while you count aloud for 30 seconds. The officer scores "clues" if you do things such as: sway; use your arms for balance; hop; or put your foot down. If the officer observes two or more clues, there is a probability that your Blood Alcohol Content is .08 or higher.

Columbus DUI / OVI Attorney For Cases With Field Sobriety Tests In Central Ohio

Our practice is focused on DUI / OVI defense, we have undergone training in field sobriety testing, and we have represented many clients with DUI / OVI cases involving field sobriety tests. For more information about our practice, please see the firm overview. You can also read what our clients say and review our past case results. We limit the number of cases we accept so we can provide outstanding service to our clients. If you would like to discuss how the Dominy Law Firm can help with your DUI / OVI case, EMAIL US or call us at 614-717-1177 to arrange a free consultation.

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