If you are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, a police officer may ask you to submit to a field sobriety test. It is crucial that all motorists in Ohio understand how field sobriety tests work, what rights they have under the law, and how a negative result could affect their case. In this article, our Dayton DUI defense attorney explains the most important things that you need to know about field sobriety tests in Ohio.
What is a Field Sobriety Test?
Field sobriety tests (FSTs) are distinguished from chemical tests, such as breathalyzer tests and blood tests. Broadly defined, FSTs are standardized, non-chemical tests that law enforcement officers use to help determine whether or not a person is intoxicated. Some of the most common types of field sobriety tests include:
- The horizontal gaze nystagmus;
- The walk and turn; and
- The one leg stand.
You are Not Required to Take a Field Sobriety Test in Ohio
There is no implied consent law for field sobriety tests in Ohio. Although drivers in Ohio are generally required to submit to post-arrest chemical testing—or they will face a DUI refusal—you are never required to take a field sobriety test. The primary reason is that there are very serious questions about the accuracy of these tests. A well-known study cited by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, found that there is “only weak statistical associations” between BAC levels and performance on an FST.
How a DUI Defense Attorney Can Help You Challenge Unreliable Test Results
Poor performance on a field sobriety test can be used as evidence in a criminal DUI case in Ohio. At the same time, drivers have a right to challenge the reliability and accuracy of field sobriety test results. A DUI defense attorney can help you prepare a well-articulated defense.
As an example, imagine that you almost fell while performing the one-leg stand. That could be taken as a poor field sobriety test. Yet, the police officer has no idea how well you stand on one leg in normal situations. A medical condition, an injury, lack of practice, or pressure/stress can all contribute to a “poor” performance on this test. It may not be intoxication.
Contact Our Ohio DUI Defense Lawyer for Immediate Assistance
At Comunale Law Office, our Ohio criminal defense attorney has extensive experience handling DUI cases. If you have any questions about field sobriety tests, we are available to help. Contact us now for your no cost, strictly private case evaluation. With a law office in Dayton, we provide DUI defense representation throughout all of Western Ohio, including in Montgomery County, Miami County, Warren County, Clark County, Butler County, Greene County, and Hamilton County.