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Breathalyzer & Field Sobriety Tests


What to do when you’re pulled over for drunk driving

Knowledgeable Ohio attorneys share valuable information on breathalyzer and field sobriety tests

No one wants to be in this situation: You’re driving home one night, when you see flashing lights behind you. After asking for your license and registration, a law enforcement officer asks you to step out of your vehicle and submit to testing to determine if you’ve been drinking.

At Yavitch & Palmer, we see numerous clients who felt pressured to comply with a police officer’s orders or were promised that such compliance would result in a better legal situation for them. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and it’s important to know your rights and your best course of action if you are stopped for a DUI check.

Take a deep breath – on your terms

A popular tool used by highway officers in a drunk driving stop is the portable breath test to test blood alcohol content (BAC). If you do take a portable breathalyzer test, the results may be used to establish probable cause to arrest you.  From there, the police may have access to other admissible evidence.

Once you are at the station, you can be asked to take a breathalyzer test on one of several devices approved by the state of Ohio. You may be told that you can blow or refuse, but either way you will likely face an Administrative License Suspension. If you take the test and blow over the legal limit, the license suspension is a minimum of 90 days for a first offense.

The field sobriety test

If a field sobriety test is determined to be useful during a traffic stop, the officer can conduct the following tests, which are considered reliable methods for determining a driver’s impairment:

  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus: This is a visual check of the driver’s eyes. The officer looks for jerky eye movements and twitching.
  • Walk and turn: The driver is asked to walk along a straight line while following numerous instructions.
  • One-leg stand: The driver is asked to stand on one foot and count out loud.

For a field sobriety test to be reliable, all of the tests must be conducted, and the officer must follow specific protocols to administer the tests properly. If we can determine that the tests were not administered correctly and are therefore unreliable, then the conclusions drawn are not admissible.

If you’ve been subjected to a breathalyzer or other DUI test in Ohio, give us a call

Contact our dedicated attorneys at Yavitch & Palmer and set up an appointment to discuss your case, your rights and your options after a drunk driving stop. Call our downtown Columbus office at 614-224-6142 or fill out our contact form. We’ll take a look at your case and develop a personalized plan to get results for you.

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