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Field Sobriety Tests in St. Clairsville

Ohio uses Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST) to assess potential driver intoxication. These tests are a set of easily conducted assessments that were studied by the National Highway Safety Administration and standardized for police officers and highway patrolmen’s use. They were first introduced in the 1970s and further examined in the 1980s.

Commonly utilized Field Sobriety Tests include:

  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus test – where the officer instructs you to track the movement of an object using only your eyes, without moving your head.
  • One-legged stand test – where the officer asks you to balance on one leg, lifting the other foot about 6 inches off the ground. You will then be required to count out loud while the officer times you for 30 seconds, observing your ability to maintain balance and count correctly.
  • Walk and turn test – where the officer instructs you to walk heel to toe along the white line on the road for a designated number of steps. After completing the steps, you will be asked to turn and walk back the same way.

Remember, Field Sobriety Tests can be challenging even for sober individuals in good physical condition. People with disabilities, illnesses, injuries, or overweight individuals may experience difficulty completing these tests and may appear impaired or intoxicated when they are not. Additionally, road surfaces, especially at the side where the white line is, are often uneven. Lastly, not all officers administer the tests correctly.

Keep in mind that you are not legally obligated to perform a field sobriety test. If you choose, you have the right to refuse them.

Chemical testing is the term used to describe blood, breath, or urine tests administered by law enforcement officials to determine if someone is driving under the influence.

Implied consent refers to the agreement made when accepting a driver’s license and signing that you will undergo chemical testing upon request by the police.

During a traffic stop, an officer may ask you to use a portable breath machine, commonly known as a preliminary breath test, roadside breath test, or breathalyzer, to measure your blood alcohol level. It is possible to be asked to take a breathalyzer test with or without performing field sobriety tests.

If the breathalyzer test shows intoxication (i.e., a blood alcohol content above the legal limit), you will be arrested for OVI. However, it is important to note that portable breath tests are unreliable and inaccurate, and prosecutors are not allowed to use them as evidence in court.

Refusing to take a breathalyzer test or perform field sobriety tests does not have immediate legal consequences or prevent the police from arresting you if they believe you are intoxicated.

Refusal becomes significant when you decline a chemical blood, breath, or urine test. This is where implied consent comes into play. While you can refuse, doing so may result in additional charges. Refusing a breath test may lead to both civil and criminal charges alongside your OVI. Refusing a blood test may result in civil charges but not criminal ones.

If you have been arrested for drunk driving and provided a blood, urine, or breath sample to the police, contact the St. Clairsville OVI Lawyer Group right away.

Sean Logue and St. Clairsville Criminal Lawyer Group are highly trained attorneys who specialize in OVI laws, defenses, and arrest procedures. They have handled numerous cases with tenacity and dedication, often achieving reduced or dismissed charges.

For a free initial consultation, call (330) 992-3036 anytime, day or night.

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