Field Sobriety Test

Field sobriety tests are used by law enforcement to enforce OVI/DUI laws in Ohio. They allow for the officer to gauge the driver’s attention levels, physical abilities, balance and other factors to determine if a driver is driving under the influence. 

The officer will record the driver’s performance on the test and use it as evidence in an OVI/DUI case. A field sobriety test is used to ensure an officer had probable cause to arrest someone for an OVI/DUI.

There are a number of issues with a field sobriety test as proof of being under the influence. Physical disabilities, illness, and sleepiness can make the driver seem as if they are failing the test. Medication side effects can also cause false positives. Even if the driver tells the officer of a condition that could affect the result, they could ignore these possibilities.

Attorney for Field Sobriety Test in Ohio

If you are being charged with a crime because of a field sobriety test or from denying testing, you should contact an experienced DUI attorney at Joslyn Law Firm. We will fight to ensure that your rights are protected and achieve the best possible outcome for your situation.

Joslyn Law Firm proudly serves communities in the Cincinnati area that include, Hamilton, Middletown, Lebanon, Sharonville, Blue Ash, Fairfield, Mason, Oxford and many other communities in central Ohio. Call us today at (513) 339-6289 or submit your information in our online form and one of our attorneys will review your case for free.


Overview of Field Sobriety Test in Ohio


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Types of Field Sobriety Test in Ohio

A field sobriety test is administered when an officer believes a driver is under the influence and needs evidence to prove it. Almost every law enforcement officer in Ohio is trained to administer Standard Field Sobriety Tests (SFST) that have been developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Below are three-field sobriety test in Ohio and their procedure:

  • Walk and Turn - An officer will ask the driver to take nine heel-to-toe steps in a straights line. Once the driver gets to the end, they will then turn around and take nine heel-to-toe steps back. The driver is required to look at their feet while counting their steps and is not allowed to use their arms for balance.
  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus: During this test, an officer will stand in front of the driver and ask them to follow an object with their eye that is placed 12 to 15 inches from their face. The officer is trying to determine if the driver has any involuntary jerking of the eyes and if they are able to smoothly follow an object.
  • One-Leg Stand: This test is done by having the driver stand with one foot about six inches off the ground and count by thousands for thirty-seconds while remaining balanced. The driver’s arms are required to remain by their side and they must look down at their foot.

These tests are extremely unreliable and have large margins of error. Each one also has numerous problems that could affect the driver’s results. Some of the problems include age, weather, road conditions, what the driver is wearing and involuntary twitches.

The mentioned tests are recognized as the standard, but there are non-standardized test an officer will often use to determine if a driver is under the influence. Examples of such test include the following:

  • Counting Backwards: During this test and office will have the driver stand with legs together and arms by their side. They will then be instructed to count backward until the officer tells them to stop.
  • Finger to Nose: To conduct this test an officer will instruct the driver to stand still, close their eyes and keep their head facing forward. The officer will them give the driver correctional commands such as left or right and the driver will be required to touch the commanded index finger to the tip of their nose while remaining balanced.
  • Reciting the Alphabet: This test is done by having the driver stand still and recite the alphabet without singing or stopping. The officer can select random letters for the driver to stop and start at. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does not endorse any of the three mentioned tests because they fail to meet the applicable requirements for standardization. With that, they carry less evidentiary weight in court.


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What are my Rights During a Field Sobriety Test?

In Ohio, you are not required to submit to a field sobriety test or answer questions, but it is important you are not rude or confrontational to the officer. The absence of a field sobriety test will serve to strengthen the defense of your case. 

Refusing to take a field sobriety test will not protect you from being arrested and charged with driving under the influence. Being arrested is just an allegation, and the less evidence provided to the police the greater chance your case will be resolved in your favor. Also, your license will not be suspended for refusing to submit, but it will if you refuse a chemical, urine or blood test.

It is always best to not answer any questions or submit to any test unless you have legal representation.


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Ohio Field Sobriety Test Resources

Stopped for Drunk Driving Q&A- The Ohio State Bar Association features a column over frequently asked questions about what you should do if you are stopped for drunk driving. The column answers questions such as what you should do when an officer wants to give a sobriety test, what happens if you are arrested and if you must get out of the car when the officer asked. The Ohio State Bar Association is an association that promotes legal education in Ohio.

DUI Field Sobriety Test- Visit Fieldsobrietytest.net for further explanations of the standardized and non-standardized sobriety test. The site discusses how each test is conducted and their flaws.


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Lawyer for Field Sobriety Test in Cincinnati, OH

You should contact Joslyn Law Firm today if you have been arrested for failing a field sobriety test, or for refusing to submit to one. Our attorneys are experienced with DUI law in Ohio and will fight to prove your innocence.

Contact Joslyn Law Firm today at (513) 339-6289 or submit your information in our online form and one of our attorneys will review your case for free. We proudly assist clients in central Ohio communities that include Cincinnati, Hamilton, Middletown, Lebanon, Sharonville, Blue Ash, Fairfield, Mason, Oxford and numerous others.  


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