Columbus Ohio DUI Defense Attorney
Call 24 Hours A Day 614.309.0243
511 South High Street
Columbus, OH 43215
("Walking the line"): The driver walks heel-to-toe along a straight line (generally about 9 steps) turn around, then walk back to the starting point in the exact same manner. The officer is on the lookout for whether the driver can correctly follow directions, as well as how he/she performs the actual physical task. For instance, whether the driver starts before given the go-ahead, loses his/her balance at any point, stops walking to regain his/her balance, uses his/her arms to maintain balance, steps off the line, takes an incorrect number of steps, or neglects to use the heel-to-toe method.
The driver stands with one foot about 6 inches off the ground with his/her toe pointed and arms at the side, while counting for approximately 30 seconds. Like the Walk-and-Turn, the officer is on the lookout for whether the driver follows directions. The officer also pays attention to whether the driver loses his/her balance at any point, sways or hops to regain balance, or puts his/her foot down too early.
An officer will place an object (such as a flashlight or pen) in front of the driver’s face, and wave it from side to side. The driver will attempt to follow the object with his/her eyes. The officer will then watch the driver to see if his/her eyeballs “bounce” or involuntarily jerk (a.k.a., nystagmus).
On one hand, field sobriety tests have been considered valid. Law enforcement frequently administers these tests in the field. Prosecutors frequently use these tests as evidence in the courtroom. But they are frequently criticized. First, both tests are subjective and filtered through the individual officer's perception. Different officers, for whatever reason, might interpret the same driver's test performance differently.
Second, there might be concern that some officers won't stick to the standardized procedures. In 2000, State v. Homan held that "in order for the results of a field sobriety test to serve as evidence of probable cause to arrest, the officer must have administered the test in strict compliance with standardized testing procedures." But in 2002, the Ohio General Assembly amended the law with R.C. 4511.19(D)(4)(b). The test must have been administered in substantial compliance for the officer to testify about the test results, and for the prosecution to introduce the test results as evidence. In 2007, State v. Boczar upheld this less stringent standard, which may give law enforcement "more leeway" in administering field sobriety tests.
Third, these tests can be difficult for even sober, able-bodied persons - let alone those with medical conditions, physical injuries, or taking medications. There are other individual factors which may skew the results, like age, weight, overall coordination (e.g., what if you're just accident-prone?), and performing under stress. There are also environmental factors, like time of day, weather conditions, type of road surface, passing traffic, distractions, etc, that have an impact as well.
A person pulled over by the police does NOT have to perform field sobriety tests. Whether you take the field sobriety tests or not, if you are charged with DUI in Columbus Ohio, then you need to hire an experienced Columbus, Ohio DUI defense attorney. Your DUI attorney will ideally find ways to challenge the validity of these tests, whether how it was administered to you, and/or the validity of the test itself.
If you are facing Ohio OVI/DUI charges, Columbus DUI Attorney Joe Edwards can defend your case with the goal of obtaining the best possible result, while treating you like the person you are rather than just another case.
or Call Columbus Ohio DUI Defense Lawyer now 24/7 at 614-309-0243
Are you or someone you know facing a criminal charge? We can help, click here for our Criminal Defense Law site.
All Rights Reserved Now Accepting Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover
If you are stopped and the police officer suspects that you have been drinking, the officer will likely request for you to take one (or more) of the different field sobriety tests that are standardized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Three commonly-administered field sobriety tests are the Walk-and-Turn, the One Leg Stand, and the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus.