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Field Tests (SFSTs) Tag

Dayton DUI Attorney Charles Rowland > Posts tagged "Field Tests (SFSTs)" (Page 3)

Standardized Field Sobriety Tests: They Don’t Work

The National Highway Safety and Traffic Administration’s standardized field sobriety tests were developed based on a 1977 study. The subjects of this study had blood alcohol content levels ranging from zero to .15 percent. Though there was such a large different between the test subjects, there was a 47 percent error rate in determining a person’s impairment after administering the standardized field sobriety tests. 47%! This means that almost half of the people were misidentified by police officers as being drunk when in fact they were not. What is worse, one of the researchers agreed that the tests are problematic...

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What Are (And What Are Not) Standardized Field Sobriety Tests

The dream of implementing Standardized Field Sobriety Tests has long been a goal of law enforcement.  Extensive government testing was begun in the 1970's to determine a scientifically valid way of helping police officers detect intoxication in drivers under suspicion of drunk driving.  Prior to this undertaking, officers were doing their best to gather evidence of drunk driving, or simply not arresting for the offense due to the difficulty of proving impairment in court.  Some more ingenious tests included throwing coins on ground; if the suspect could pick them up without falling over, they must be sober.  Other popular tests that...

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Ohio DUI Law And The Portable Breath Test

In State v. Shuler , 168 Ohio App.3d 183, 2006-Ohio-4336, the Ohio Supreme Court took up the issue of whether a portable breath test device (hereinafter 'PBT') can be used as evidence in a drunk driving prosecution.  The court found that, PBT devices are not among those instruments listed in Ohio Adm.Code 3701-53-02 as approved evidential breath-testing instruments for determining the concentration of alcohol in the breath of individuals potentially in violation of R.C. 4511.19. PBT results are considered inherently unreliable because they “may register an inaccurate percentage of alcohol present in the breath, and may also be inaccurate as to...

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Alcohol Impairment & Your Ears

Alcohol acts as a sedative on the central nervous system, which explains the impaired speech, vision, coordination, and concentration. But the part of the brain it affects the most is the part responsible for behavior and emotion. Your sense of judgment is weakened, and suddenly speaking your mind doesn't seem so bad. You feel braver since your socially conditioned safety stops or filters are circumvented.  But how does it affect your hearing?According to studies, "[a]uditory acuity is not generally affected in humans at low blood alcohol levels (less that 0.10 g/dL).  Pihkanen & Kauko (1962) reported impairment in two out...

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OVI Law: The Officer Can Testify Even If He/She Was Incompetent

Imagine for a moment that you are stopped for suspicion of drunk driving.  The officer asks you out of the vehicle and begins to administer "standardized field sobriety tests."  You start to notice that the officer is unsure of himself.  Maybe he/she give contradictory instructions or stops you and tells you to do it a different way.  As the tests proceed you begin to fear that the officer does not know how to properly administer the tests.  Surely, this will not be used against you in court, right?It is the burden of the state to demonstrate the admissibility of the...

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What Is Wrong With The HGN? (by DaytonDUI)

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 HGNtest 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.When an officer asks you to follow his pen, he is performing the horizontal gaze nystagmus test.  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.  The nystagmus the...

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Bloodshot and Glassy Eyes Are Not Clues of Impairment

In almost every DUI I have encountered, the arresting officer has indicated that the alleged drunk driver had "bloodshot" or "glassy" eyes.  We challenge the officer by pointing out that he has never seen the defendant before and has no idea whether or not the defendant was engaging in activity that would logically cause bloodshot eyes (fatigue, being in a smoky environment, etc.).  This would usually end cross-examination on this issue and the officer would be able to establish an important factor in deciding whether or not to remove the driver for standardized field sobriety testing. (Phase II of the...

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Nonstandardized Field Sobriety Tests

Ohio has adopted the three-test field sobriety protocol as set forth in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) manual for training law enforcement officers.  The three tests adopted by NHTSA all survived scientific scrutiny as being indicative of impairment.  The tests are: (1) horizontal gaze nystagmus, a test of the subject's eyes; (2)  walk & turn; (3) one-leg-stand.  The officer is trained to administer the tests in a standardized fashion and record "clues" of impairment as evidenced by the subject's performance on the tests.Often, you will encounter a circumstance where the officer employs an non-standardized field sobriety test.  These...

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Standardized Field Sobriety Tests; the walk & turn test

The Trooper gave me a “walk the line” test.  What was he looking for? The Walk & Turn test is a divided attention test that is used as part of the three-test battery of field sobriety tests.  The officer will observe your performance on this test, looking for eight (8) clues of impairment.  You will be deemed to have failed the test if you present just two (2) of the eight (8) clues.  According to NHTSA, the Walk & Turn test is 68% accurate in determining alcohol intoxication above 0.10% BAC (when two or more clues are present).  See generally 2006...

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