Field Sobriety Tests in St. Clairsville
Ohio utilizes Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST) as a means to assess driver impairment. These tests, extensively studied by the National Highway Safety Administration, were standardized for implementation by law enforcement officers and highway patrolmen. The initial tests were introduced in the 1970s and underwent thorough examination throughout the 1980s.
Here is a compilation of commonly employed Field Sobriety Tests:
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus test: The officer instructs you to track the movement of a pen or another object solely with your eyes, without moving your head.
- One-legged stand test: Standing on one leg, you elevate the other foot about 6 inches off the ground while audibly counting. The officer times you for 30 seconds to assess your ability to maintain balance and count accurately.
- Walk and turn test: The officer directs you to walk heel to toe along the white line of the road for a specific number of steps. Then, you must turn and walk back the same way.
It’s important to bear in mind that Field Sobriety Tests can present challenges, even for individuals who are physically capable and sober. Individuals living with disabilities, illnesses, injuries, or those who are overweight may struggle to successfully complete these tests, leading to a mistaken assumption of intoxication or impairment. Additionally, road surfaces, especially near the white line, are often uneven. Lastly, it’s worth noting that not all officers conduct these tests accurately.
Legally, you are not obligated to undergo a field sobriety test, and you have the right to refuse them if you choose.
Chemical Testing in Ohio and Implied Consent
Chemical testing pertains to blood, breath, or urine tests administered by law enforcement officials to ascertain whether a person is driving under the influence.
Implied consent arises from the agreement made at the time of driver’s license acceptance and signing. By doing so, you consented to undergo chemical testing at the request of law enforcement.
During a traffic stop, if an officer suspects you are driving under the influence, they may request that you blow into a portable breath machine to determine your blood alcohol level. This handheld device, often referred to as a preliminary breath test, roadside breath test, or breathalyzer, might be requested in conjunction with or without the performance of field sobriety tests.
If the breathalyzer test determines that you are intoxicated (i.e. your blood alcohol content exceeds the legal limit), you will be arrested for OVI. However, it’s important to note that portable breath tests are widely considered unreliable and inaccurate, and are not admissible as evidence in court.
Refusing to take a breathalyzer test or perform field sobriety tests does not have immediate legal consequences. However, it does not prevent the police from arresting you if they suspect you are under the influence.
The consequences for refusing a chemical blood, breath, or urine test come into play due to implied consent laws. While you can refuse, doing so may result in additional charges. Refusing a breath test may lead to both civil and criminal charges, in addition to your St. Clairsville OVI lawyer charge. Refusing a blood test may result in civil charges without any accompanying criminal charges.
If you have been arrested for drunk driving and provided a blood, urine, or breath sample to the police, we urge you to contact the St. Clairsville Criminal Law Group immediately.
Sean Logue and St. Clairsville Criminal Lawyer Group are highly experienced attorneys who have undergone rigorous training in OVI laws, defenses, and arrest procedures. They have successfully handled numerous cases, approaching each one with tenacity and dedication, often resulting in reduced or dismissed charges.
For a complimentary initial consultation, please call (330) 992-3036 at any time, day or night.
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