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What to know about field sobriety tests

On Behalf of | Feb 17, 2021 | DUI / OVI

If Ohio authorities believe that you are driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they may ask you to perform field sobriety tests. The results of these tests may help an officer decide if you should be taken into custody. Let’s take a look at what your rights are if asked to take these tests.

You don’t have to submit to testing

As a general rule, you aren’t obligated to walk in a line, recite the alphabet backwards or balance on one leg just because an officer asks you to do so. However, it is worth noting that you may lose your license for declining to perform a given test. Furthermore, a refusal may itself be evidence that you drove while impaired by drugs or alcohol.

You have the right to put your actions into context

It’s important to alert the officer who is overseeing the tests to any medical conditions that you might have. It isn’t uncommon for medical issues to make it difficult to stand, walk properly or follow an object with your eyes. In some cases, head injuries could impair your ability to follow directions or retain information. This could easily be mistaken as a sign of impairment. A criminal law attorney may be able to use this information to help you obtain a favorable outcome in a DUI case.

The rules are different if you’re under 21

If you’re under the age of 21, you are not allowed to purchase, possess or consume any alcohol. Furthermore, the law allows an officer to take you into custody simply because a Breathalyzer test determined that your blood alcohol level was higher than .02. Therefore, it may not even be necessary to perform additional testing before charging you with a crime.

An attorney may be able to help you avoid jail time, a fine or other penalties associated with a DUI charge. This may be done by asserting that sobriety tests weren’t properly administered or that there was no probable cause to suspect that you were driving while impaired.