Information About Ohio Field Sobriety Tests

For many years, police officers have been administering field sobriety tests during traffic stops in an effort to determine whether individuals have been driving under the influence of alcohol or committing another OVI/DUI offense. The problem, however, was that many field sobriety tests existed. There was little uniformity in the selection and administration procedures of field sobriety tests on individuals pulled over for an OVI/DUI offense.

Beginning in late 1975, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began sponsoring research studies to validate a uniform system concerning the administration of field sobriety tests by police officers. The research studies sponsored by NHTSA eventually validated three field sobriety tests, known throughout Ohio and nationwide as the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN): During this test, police officers examine a person’s eyes to determine whether they show signs of jerking.
  • Walk and Turn Test: Police officers ask an individual to walk in a straight line, turn and walk back on that same line. They look for certain clues, such as loss of balance, frequent stops while walking and the inability to walk heel to toe.
  • One Leg Stand Test: Police officers look for signs of imbalance, hopping and other impairment clues while requiring a person to stand on one leg while keeping his or her arms by the side.

Problems With Field Sobriety Tests In Ohio

There are several issues with using the above field sobriety tests as proof of impairment. Illness, sleepiness and physical disabilities can alter the results, making the individual appear as if he or she is failing the test. Some side effects of medications can also result in false positives. Unfortunately, many police officers ignore these possibilities, even if the person in question tells the officer of a condition that may affect the results.

Field Sobriety Test Refusal

In Columbus and throughout Ohio, police routinely remove individuals from their vehicles and require that they perform field sobriety tests during OVI/DUI traffic stops. This can be an extremely nerve-wracking experience, as most people have never had to perform field sobriety tests on the side of a road under such circumstances.

There is currently no Ohio law that requires individuals to perform field sobriety tests during an alcohol-related traffic stop. Field sobriety tests are nothing more than tools developed by NHTSA and administered by police officers.

Experienced OVI/DUI Attorney

My name is Michael S. Probst, an Ohio drunk driving criminal defense attorney with more than a decade of professional experience. I take the position that field sobriety tests are inherently flawed and are not administered uniformly by police officers during OVI/DUI traffic stops. Additionally, police officers do not typically tell individuals how they will be grading their performance prior to administering the tests. I understand how dangerous these conditions can be when asked to perform a field sobriety test. Without the proper information and procedure, many of my clients wrongfully face a  drunk driving charge or another alcohol-related crime.

If you or someone you know has been arrested for OVI/DUI, I encourage you to contact me at Probst Law Office, Inc., in Columbus, Ohio. I have a strong understanding of the law, and I will not hesitate to challenge the prosecutor’s case based on flawed field sobriety testing. You can count on me to protect your rights, your freedom and your future.

Did You Refuse A Field Sobriety Test? Contact Columbus DUI Lawyer Michael Probst.

To discuss your OVI/DUI case with an experienced Columbus drunk driving defense attorneycontact Probst Law Office, Inc., online or call 614-232-8890. I will evaluate your case and inform you of your legal options.