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Field Sobriety Tests

You have just been pulled over for being suspected of operating a vehicle while impaired. The police officer will most likely ask you to perform some field sobriety tests to confirm his suspicions. Here is some important information to consider before agreeing to perform the tests. In Ohio, you have the right to refuse to take a field sobriety test. The office will probably warn you that the failure to comply will look bad against you in court but an experience criminal defense attorney will know how to handle this. An important thing to remember is to remain calm and polite when refusing to take the test. Losing your temper and being uncooperative will give the officer more of a reason to detain you.

If you do agree to the test, there are three particular tests that you will encounter. The first is the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test. This is a very common that most people have done before, most likely at the doctor’s office. The officer will hold up a pen or their finger and ask you to watch it as they move it from side to side. They will be looking for involuntary twitches of your eyes. Next will be the Walk and Turn test which entails walking in a straight line heel to toe while being asked routine questions. This is to see how well you can multi-task. The last test is the One Leg Stand which has you stand on one leg for thirty seconds to see how well your balance is affected by alcohol.

These tests have a very arbitrary scoring system. There is no definitive way to say whether a person is said to be too intoxicated to drive. If you are thought to be over the legal limit, you may be placed under arrest and taken to the station for a chemical breath test. This test does have a mandatory penalty of one year driver’s licenses suspension if you refuse to take it. If you do take the breath test and blow above a 0.08%, you will be charged with an OVI/DUI.

If you think the officer did not follow the protocol for performing your field sobriety test, contact an attorney at DiCaudo, Pitchford & Yoder.