Attorney Matthew C. Bangerter North Eastern Ohio

What Tests Are Carried Out When Someone Is Stopped For DUI/OVI In Ohio?


What Are Standardized Field Sobriety Tests And What Are They Designed To Do?

Tests carried out when someone is stopped for Dui/Ovi in Ohio, like these are designed to detect impairment, impaired driving due to alcohol. There are three of them that are standardized in Ohio: the first one is called the HGN, which stands for Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus.

The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus is the one where the police officer moves a fingertip or pencil in front of your eyes. They are checking for involuntary jerking movements of the eyes that can occur if a person is intoxicated. The problem with that is, one, that those jerking movements can occur for any number of reasons and most of them are not alcohol related.

The other issue with that particular test is that very rarely does an officer perform it correctly. Attorney Bangerter has actually been certified with the same training that officers get to administer those tests and it takes three full days of training to learn to do it right, and the officers often do not.

The other two standardized DUI tests are called the walk and turn and the one legged stand. Walk and turn is the one where they have a person basically walk a line and the one legged stand is where they stand on one leg for thirty seconds. There are a lot more technical elements to both of those and again the officers learn how to do those over an entire weekend or three days of training, and practice them.

Almost everybody who gets pulled out of their car to take those tests have never seen them before and have never done them before. They are expected to instantly remember all those details as soon as they are told by the police officer and then perform it correctly regardless of whether they have been drinking or not and it is very difficult to do that.

Can Someone Refuse To Do a DUI Test? Are There Any Consequences?

Yes they can. It is just like speaking with the police. You can decline to take those field tests that are a little known so you do not see it very often. As a practical matter, the police officer may decide that he wants to arrest you just based on whatever else he sees. If he smells alcohol or something like that, but you certainly are well within your rights to decline to take those tests.

Are Those Tests Actually Admissible In Court As Evidence?

Yes they are. In trial, the prosecutor will typically play the dash cam video of the stop. They will show all of the tests, and they will show the officer doing the tests. They will show the client trying to perform the tests. The thing that is not admissible is the portable breath test.

For the breath test, the officer will take you back to the station and have you blow into the machine that is admissible. But if they give you a portable breath test on the side of the road, that is not admissible in court.

Can Someone Refuse To Do The Portable Breath Test And Are There Consequences To Doing So?

For the portable breath test no. If someone refuses to take the actual breath test back at the station, Ohio has what is called the “implied consent law”, which means by getting your driver’s license, you consent to take these breath tests if the police officers ask.

So if they ask and you refuse to take the test, your license will get automatically suspended for a year. Under the law, if you get a DUI and you refuse the breath test, you get the year of suspension but then you take the case to trial and you should win, you still have the suspension for refusing the test.

For more information regarding DUI tests in Ohio, call the Law Office of Matthew Bangerter for an initial consultation at (440) 409-7898 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.

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