DUI / OVI Field Sobriety Tests in Columbus and Delaware, Ohio

Standardized field sobriety tests have been developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that assist police officers in determining whether a person should be arrested for DUI / OVI. If police administer these tests during a valid stop, they can be introduced at trial as evidence that the person was driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

Standardized Field Sobriety Tests for DUI / OVI

There are three standardized field sobriety tests tests:

The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test is used to determine if an involuntary jerking of the eye exists. Studies have demonstrated that the consumption of alcohol can lead to the presence of nystagmus in the eye. The police will have you follow a pen or finger side to side. As your eyes move, the police officer will search to see if your eye has an involuntary jerk. The officer can detect 6 “clues,” of which 4 are needed, to determine if there is a probability that your blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 or higher.

The Walk and Turn Test is administered by having you stand on a line, walk 9 steps, heel-to-toe, down the line, turning around, and repeating. The officer is looking to see if you lose your balance, start too early, take an incorrect number of steps, or fail to touch heel-to-toe. If two or more “clues” are observed, there is a good chance that your BAC is 0.08 or higher.

The One Leg Stand Test has the officer instructing you to raise one leg 6″ of the ground, keeping your arms at your side, and counting to 30. The officer is looking to see if you sway, lose your balance, or put your foot down. If two or more “clues” are observed, there is a probability that your BAC is 0.08 or higher.

In addition to these standardized tests, officers often employ non-standardized tests, such as reciting the alphabet or counting backwards. While there is no correlation between failure on these studies and a high BAC, and there is no standardized procedure, officers make often make judgments based on them.

Having an attorney review the police cruiser video and cross-examining the officer can lead to the discovery of mistakes. Officers can make mistakes in conducting field sobriety tests, and the results of those tests incorrectly administered can be excluded from court proceedings.

Field Sobriety Tests for Drugs of Abuse

In addition to the standardized field sobriety tests above, law enforcement may request that you submit to field sobriety tests designed to detect impairment by drugs of abuse, such as marijuana. These include a lack of convergence test and modified romberg. The lack of convergence test consists of an officer taking a stimulus, such as a finger or pen, and making two concentric circles around your face and then placing the stimulus near the bridge of your nose. The officer is looking to determine if your eyes converge (i.e., do your eyes cross). If they do not, that is a sign of impairment by certain drugs.

The modified romberg test involves the officer requesting that you look up, close your eyes, and estimate the passage of 30 seconds. A person impaired by certain drugs, such as marijuana, will typically take longer to estimate the passage of 30 seconds. This will be used by law enforcement in determining if probable cause to arrest for DUI / OVI exists, and will be used as evidence of your impairment at trial.

Columbus and Delaware, Ohio DUI / OVI Attorney

If you have been charged with DUI in Columbus or Delaware, Ohio, contact Johnson Legal, LLC and speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Attorney David Johnson of Johnson Legal, LLC will discuss your case and assist you in fighting the charges. Call (614) 987-0192 or send an email to schedule a consultation regarding your DUI / OVI case.

Johnson Legal, LLC serves the following cities in the central Ohio area for DUI / OVI Defense:

Westerville, Worthington, Columbus, Polaris, Reynoldsburg, Grandview Heights, Shawnee Hills, Bexley, Pickerington, GahannaSunbury, Powell, Upper Arlington, New Albany, Dublin, Hilliard, Lewis Center, Galena, Clintonville, Huber Ridge, Blacklick, Grove City, Delaware, Marysville, Groveport, Newark, Canal Winchester, Obetz, Marion, Mt. GileadPataskala, Granville, WhitehallFranklin County, Morrow County, Licking County, Knox County, Union County, Madison County and Delaware County