What Does Standardized Mean in Standardized Field Sobriety Tests?

Standardization simply means that you do the same thing, the same way, every time, and that everybody else does it the same way every time.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has three “standardized” Field Sobriety Tests – One Leg Stand, Walk and Turn, and Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus.  These roadside exercises are supposed to be administered the same way every time by every officer.

Does this happen?  No.  Officers routinely administer these roadside exercises in ways that fail to conform to NHTSA standards.  Why is this important?  If an officer fails to administer the roadside sobriety test according to the standards developed by NHTSA, then they do not have scientific validity under Ohio law.  It is debatable whether they have scientific validity even when administered correctly, but for now, the Ohio legislature has determined that if the SFSTs are administered in substantial compliance with NHTSA regulations then they are admissible in court.

Even though SFSTs may be admissible in a particular case – because the officer merely complied with the standards in administering the tests – does not mean that there are no ways of challenging the results.

If you have been arrested in Columbus for DUI after taking Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, contact an Experienced OVI Lawyer at (614) 454-5010.

Related Posts

Comments on this entry are closed.