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Dayton DUI Attorney Charles Rowland > Posts tagged "drunk tests"

Standardized Field Sobriety Tests: “Your Drunk Tests Are Hard”

Standardized Field Sobriety Tests One of the areas where a DUI attorney's experience is most obvious is in the cross-examination of the arresting officer on the issue of the standardized field sobriety tests.  The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) determines which tests, if any, is correlated with impairment by alcohol. Due to extensive testing, NHTSA determined that three tests were specific for alcohol intoxication: the HGN (horizontal gaze nystagmus), the walk & turn test and the one leg stand test. This three-test battery are now referred to as the "standardized field sobriety tests." Why Is This Important? Because the officer is using...

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Changes To The 2013 NHTSA Standardized Field Sobriety Test Manual

There is a new NHTSA Standardized Field Sobriety Test training manual and it is significantly changed from prior versions.  Included is the new focus of law enforcement on impairing drugs.  The new information lays the groundwork for full implementation of the Drug Recognition Expert protocol now making its way into Ohio law. This article will focus on the changes in a format that follows the NHTSA Standardized Field Sobriety Test training manual text, session by session.  Full versions of the NHTSA DUI training manual are available at various sources on the internet.  This article incorporates the work of various authors and...

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What Is A Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test?

What is the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test? Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant affecting many of the higher as well as lower motor control systems of the body. This results in poor motor coordination, sluggish reflexes, and emotional instability. The part of the nervous system that fine-tunes and controls hand movements and body posture also controls eye movements. When intoxicated, a person's nervous system will display a breakdown in the smooth and accurate control of eye movements. This breakdown in the smooth control of eye movement may result in the inability to hold the eyes steady, resulting in a number...

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The Limits of the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests

Ohio Revised Code 4511.19(D)(4)(b) sets forth the standards for admissibility of the results of field sobriety tests in OVI (drunk driving) prosecutions.  See State v. Bozcar, 113 Ohio St. 3d 148, 2007-Ohio-1251, 863 N.E.2d 115 (2007).  In order for the tests to be admissible, the State must demonstrate:By clear and convincing evidence. The Officer administered the tests insubstantial compliance. The testing standards for any reliable, credible, and generally accepted test. Including, but not limited to, the standards set by NHTSA.The only guidance provided for determining the meaning of “substantial compliance” has come from State v. Burnside, 100 Ohio St. 3d 152, 2003-Ohio-5372 (2003), wherein the court indicated that errors that...

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Are the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests Fair to Fatter People?

Being overweight can impact your performance on the standardized field sobriety tests.  The government agency tasked with verifying the validity of the standardized field sobriety tests is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (hereinafter NHTSA).  NHTSA concedes that being fifty or more pounds overweight affects performance on the one-leg stand test; a test requiring the suspect to raise a foot off the ground and stand on one foot for 30 seconds. See NHTSA, DWI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing, Participant's Manual (2006), re: WAT at VIII-11, re: OLS at VIII-13. Id. re: 50 lbs at VIII-13.  In older versions...

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Standardized Field Sobriety Tests

The Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) is a battery of three tests administered and evaluated in a standardized manner to obtain validated indicators of impairment and establish probable cause for arrest. These tests were developed as a result of research sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and conducted by the Southern California Research Institute. A formal program of training was developed and is available through NHTSA to help law enforcement officers become more skillful at detecting DWI suspects, describing the behavior of these suspects, and presenting effective testimony in court....

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Ohio DUI Law: Failure to File a Motion To Suppress

Should You File A Motion to Suppress?In State v. Thomas, 2011-Ohio-1987 (2nd Dist. Ct. App. 2011), the Defendant was convicted of felony OVI after a jury trial.  No motion to suppress was filed and it was determined during the jury trial that the officer wasn't sure whether he turned off his overhead lights during the horizontal gaze nystagmus portion of the standardized field sobriety tests, but stated that it was normal to do so.  An argument exists that doing the test in this manner should result in suppression of the test as the phenomenon of optokinetic...

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Challenging the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests

Did the Officer Conduct A Pre-Test Medical Check?  Prior to the administration of the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test, an officer is required to examine a subject's eyes to assess for possible medical impairment. (NHTSA Student Manual, 2006 ed. VIII-5)   The examining officer should look atPupil size; Resting Nystagmus; Tracking AbilityIf any of these are present they should be noted and the test should be aborted.Resting Nystagmus is "referred to as a jerking of the eyes as they look straight ahead.  (NHTSA Student Manual, 2006 ed., VIII-4)  Officers are trained that if they see resting nystagmus "[i]ts presence usually indicates a...

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Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test

Q. Why did the officer test my eyes with a pen?A. Officers look for a fluttering of the eyeball which, believe it or not, is indicative of alcohol consumption.  Officers look for a "distinct and sustained nystagmus" at "maximum deviation."  The video depicts one of the six clues that law enforcement are trained to look for in administering the horizontal gaze nystagmus test (the HGN or eye test).  Charles M. Rowland has received the same training as a police officer in administering and evaluating the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (including the HGN) and he is the only attorney in the...

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