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 are clearly “de minimus” or “minor procedural deviations” are not substantial. Thus, the State must set forth the testing standards, offer some testimony that the testing standards have been accepted and that the officer has substantially complied.
But should that be enough? Assuming the officer testifies that all non-intoxicated people should “pass” the tests and assuming that the officer was 100% compliant with his training in administering the tests, what does the science say? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, through its extensive research, has acknowledged that:
- these tests lose their sensitivity if repeated;
- sober people have difficulty with balance;
- leg problems can affect these tests;
- back problems can affect these tests;
- middle ear problems can affect these tests;
- weight can affect the tests;
- age can affect the tests;
- footwear can affect theses tests; and
- weather conditions can affect the tests.
DUI attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in Dayton, Springfield, Kettering, Vandalia, Xenia, Miamisburg, Huber Heights,Beavercreek, and throughout Ohio. He has the credentials and the experience to win your case and has made himself the Miami Valley’s choice for DUI defense. Contact Charles Rowland by phone at 937-318-1DUI (937-318-1384), 937-879-9542, or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263). For after-hours help contact our 24/7 DUI HOTLINE at 937-776-2671. For information about Dayton DUI sent directly to your mobile device, text DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500. Follow DaytonDUI on Twitter @DaytonDUI or Get Twitter updates via SMS by texting DaytonDUI to 40404. DaytonDUI is also available on Facebook,www.facebook.com/daytondui and on the DaytonDUI channel on YouTube. You can also email Charles Rowland at: CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.comor write to us at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324.