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Field Tests (SFSTs) Tag

Dayton DUI Attorney Charles Rowland > Posts tagged "Field Tests (SFSTs)"

HGN Test Doomed By Lack Of Training

HGN Test Doomed By Lack Of Training According to their own manual, the HGN test, Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, is the most reliable of the three standardized field sobriety tests.  The police are trained that it is 77% accurate at detecting subjects at or above a .10% blood alcohol concentration.  But that is not the whole story. Officers are not told that everyone (EVERYONE) has nystagmus. The presence of alcohol merely enhances or magnifies this natural effect. In addition, they are instructed that there are 40 different kinds of nystagmus. Yes, everyone - but that is somehow not important to their training. The fact...

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Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus – Understanding The “Most Reliable” Roadside Test

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus The horizontal gaze nystagmus test is an eye test approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration(hereinafter NHTSA) as a tool to detect clues of impairment in drivers.  The HGN test is one of three psychomotor tests approved as part of the standardized field sobriety testing protocol employed by law enforcement officers throughout the United States and used here in Ohio. HGN: What Is The Science? Nystagmus is defined as the oscillation of the eyeball that occurs when there is a disturbance of the vestibular system or the oculomotor control of the eye.  During the test, a law enforcement officer is looking for is an involuntary...

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What is the Legal Limit in Ohio?

What Is The Legal Limit In Ohio? Driving with a prohibited concentration of alcohol in your blood breath or urine is a separate offense under Ohio law. If you have ever heard anyone refer to "blowing above a .08" they are referring to the most common test administered by law enforcement today, the breath test. Revised Code section 4511.19 sets forth the elements of Ohio’s tough OVI law. In Ohio, the legal limit for persons 21 and over is any of the following: .08 or more by weight of alcohol in blood; .08 of one gram or more by weight of...

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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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Defending Against Poor Standardized Field Sobriety Tests

Failing the Roadside Field Sobriety Tests Is Not Conclusive In this short video, available at the Dayton DUI YouTube channel, I give an important analogy about interpreting the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests given as part of most DUI arrests. Without proper context, you can be made to appear drunk and have your performance used against you. If you find yourself accused of drunk driving, contact DUI attorney Charles M. Rowland II today. ...

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Alcohol On Your Breath? So What!

Have we reached a point where the mere presence of alcohol on the breath is enough to place a person under arrest?  We ask this question because the "odor of an alcoholic beverage" is the first and most relied upon clue an officer notes in his or her report.  Not only does it determine that the driver has been drinking but provides legal justification (reasonable suspicion) for continuing the stop for a DUI/OVI investigation.  Courts allow an officer to testify as to the odor and the strength of that odor as a basis for continuing the detention. See State v. Evans,...

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What Is The One Leg Stand Test?

THE ONE LEG STAND TEST In this test, the suspect is instructed to stand with one foot approximately six inches off the ground and count aloud by thousands (One thousand-one, one thousand-two, etc.) until told to put the foot down. The officer times the subject for 30 seconds. The officer looks for four indicators of impairment, including swaying while balancing, using arms to balance, hopping to maintain balance, and putting the foot down. NHTSA research indicates that 83 percent of individuals who exhibit two or more such indicators in the performance of the test will have a BAC of 0.08...

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Don’t Speak English? The Standardized Field Sobriety Tests Are Unfair!

If you have a client who does not speak english (or "cop english"), or if you have a client that does not hear well, they should not be considered impaired if they cannot follow the officer's instructions during the standardized field sobriety tests. The National Sobriety Testing Resource Center has put out a study, Impediments to Testing: The Impact of Hearing Impairment and Language Barriers on the Field Sobriety Testing Function which shows exactly how unfair the standardized field sobriety tests are under these conditions. This study states that all officers conducting field sobriety tests at roadside should know the availability of deaf interpreters. ...

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Tired or Drunk? Field Tests Cannot Distinguish Between The Two

Field Tests Are Not Fair If You Are Tired! Imagine yourself driving home late at night after a long day at work. You have been putting in long hours to finish a project. Your eyes are bloodshot from looking at a screen all day and you need a shower.  Your wife calls and you fumble for the cell phone.  As you do, you drift slightly across the yellow lane dividing lines. That is when you see the lights of a police officer behind you.  He approaches your car window and asks what you had to drink.  Then he asks you to...

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The Phase Two Finger Dexterity Test

Can you do the Finger Dexterity Test? There are three distinct phases to an alcohol investigation. The first phase involves the officer's observation of a person's driving. It is called the "Vehicle In Motion" phase. The ultimate determination in this phase is whether or not the officer will initiate a traffic stop.  Phase one of the investigation ends when the driver stops the car. Phase two, the "Personal Contact Phase" begins when the officer comes into contact with the driver.  The officer is trained to look, listen, and smell for cues of impairment. The ultimate decision in this phase is whether or...

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