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Our Lawyers Are Certified In OVI Testing Methods

Field sobriety tests must be administered in compliance with legal procedures. If a sobriety test is not conducted in adherence to specific laws, the results cannot be considered admissible by the court. Results of a breath, blood, or urine test must be administered according to mandatory standards.

If your arrest for operating under the influence (OVI) resulted from a violation of a field sobriety test procedure, you need to speak immediately with a Columbus DUI attorney from The Law Offices of Saia, Marrocco & Jensen Inc.. We consider it our duty to make certain that you do not suffer the painful consequences of a wrongful OVI conviction. We can file a motion to suppress evidence in either of these cases. Many times, this can lead to a case acquittal, reduced charge, or in some cases, a case dismissal.

You need an aggressive attorney who concentrates on defending clients accused of drunk driving in Franklin County. From simple to complex cases, we will not be afraid to take your case to a jury. Attorney Jon Saia is certified in field sobriety testing methods, and with our team’s 100+ years of combined legal experience, we have represented countless cases at both state and federal levels since 1996. You can rest assured that, from the moment you retain our firm, we can work hard to ensure that your rights are protected every step of the way.

Types of Field Sobriety Tests in Ohio

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus
Nystagmus can be caused by alcohol or drug intoxication. During this test, an officer will look to see whether the person’s eye movement is smooth or establish if there is an involuntary jerking motion of the eye. The human eye normally moves smoothly, but an eye with nystagmus will move in a jerking motion.

One-Leg Stand
Police officers will instruct a driver to choose one leg and lift it off the ground six inches. The police officer will then tell the driver to count out loud to 30. While the driver is performing the test, the officer will be looking for clues that may indicate a high level of intoxication.

Walk-and-Turn Test
Police officers will instruct a driver to stand heel to toe with their hands by their sides. With every step forward, the driver will be required to step toe to heel and count each step out loud. The driver is then made to turn around and repeat the process. The officer will look for any clue that suggests the person is under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance.

Defenses After a Failed or Refused Field Sobriety Test

If you have been accused of drunk driving due to failing or refusing a field sobriety test, speaking immediately with a Columbus DUI defense lawyer from our firm can be your best shot at preserving your driving privileges and avoiding the maximum penalties of conviction. If you are charged with DUI in Ohio, you could be stuck with a criminal record for life, so it’s important that you fight back.

Only a knowledgeable Columbus OVI lawyer can challenge the results of a field sobriety test or chemical test based on the following:

  • Failure to properly observe test subject
  • Favorable evidence destroyed
  • Insufficient evidence collected
  • Medical problems that could have affected test results
  • Testing equipment failed to operate properly

Q&A: Field Sobriety Test Issues

  1. Why do police officers make suspected drunk drivers do roadside balance acts?
  2. What is Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN)?
  3. What are the Walk and Turn and the One Leg Stand tests?
  4. Are these field sobriety tests admissible in court?

1. Why do police officers make suspected drunk drivers do roadside balance acts?

The balance acts are actually “Standardized Field Sobriety Tests” (SFST) and include:

  1. Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN);
  2. Walk and Turn (WAT); and
  3. One Leg Stand.

SFST’s were developed in the late 1970s and early 1980s as a way for law enforcement to establish a standardized method to help them determine whether an individual is too impaired to drive. Rather than serving as a test for impairment, the tests actually predict the probability of an individual’s Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) being higher than .08.

2. What is Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN)?

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) is a jerking of the eye as the eye moves horizontally while following a moving stimulus. There are three parts to this test. The officer holds a stimulus (usually a pen) 12 to 15 inches from the driver’s nose and moves it horizontally across the driver’s field of vision. The officer first checks for nystagmus (jerking) as the drivers eyes shift to the left and right, and then checks for nystagmus while holding the stimulus to the far right and then to the far left of the driver’s field of vision. Finally, the officer looks for the onset of nystagmus before the stimulus reaches a 45 degree angle from the starting point (the driver’s nose). If the officer observes a total of at least four of the six possible clues (three clues in each eye), there is a 77 percent probability that the individual would test at a .08 BAC or higher.

3. What are the Walk and Turn and the One Leg Stand tests?

The Walk and Turn and One Leg Stand Tests are balance and coordination tests that also determine an individual’s ability to follow instructions (accompanied with demonstrations). However, the instructions are long and may be confusing, and the officer may have trouble giving proper instructions. The Walk and Turn has a 68 percent probability of predicting that an individual has a BAC of .08 or higher and the One Leg Stand is accurate about 65 percent of the time.

4. Are these field sobriety tests admissible in court?

Yes. Although many courts consider the Walk and Turn and One Leg Stand to be non-scientific tests, findings from these tests are generally admissible as evidence in court. Further, courts often hold that the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test is scientifically reliable if administered in strict compliance with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) standards. If, however, it can be shown that any of these tests was not administered correctly, the findings may be inadmissible in court.

Rely on Strong, Effective Representation From Our Firm

Do not take the chance of going without representation after you have been arrested for failing a field sobriety test. At The Law Offices of Saia, Marrocco & Jensen Inc., Founding Attorney Jon Saia is an active member of the National College of DUI Defense. Our firm has dedicated a specific portion of our practice to aggressively defending individuals accused of OVI and DUI in Columbus!

Contact The Law Offices of Saia, Marrocco & Jensen Inc. at 419-946-7876 to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys. Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We offer strong, effective legal representation at a competitive price, so call us now! We proudly serve areas throughout Ohio, including Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, and Dayton.