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L. Patrick Mulligan & Associates, LLC L. Patrick Mulligan & Associates, LLC
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Do I Have to Consent to a Field Sobriety Test in Ohio?


Being pulled over by police for a suspected DUI can be a frightening experience. If the police think that you have been driving your vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they will usually ask you to perform a field sobriety test. As DUI attorneys with more than 30 years of experience, we know how to handle DUI cases and secure positive outcomes for our clients. One of the questions we are commonly asked is: “Do I have to consent to a field sobriety test in Ohio?” We tell you the answer to this question below.

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Is Field Sobriety Testing Mandatory?

The short answer is no, you are not required to submit to a field sobriety test in Ohio. It is within your rights to refuse a request from an officer for a field sobriety test, in fact, many attorneys suggest that you do not take a field sobriety test because it might implicate you for DUI.

What Is Field Sobriety Testing?

Field sobriety tests are tests that law enforcement uses to determine if the person they have stopped is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Police might ask a person to perform the “walk and turn” test, the “one-leg stand” test, or a vision test. When officers ask a suspect to perform these tests, they closely look at the person’s ability to follow instructions and keep their balance. Officers use the subjective results from these tests as a form of evidence to back up their decision to make a DUI arrest. This means that when you participate in a field sobriety test, you are helping police build a case against you.

In addition to the subjective nature of field sobriety tests, a person might also fail for the following reasons:

  • The person is not physically fit
  • The person performs poorly due to the stress of being questioned by police
  • The person is fatigued or suffering from drowsiness
  • Noise from nearby traffic makes it hard to hear the officer’s directions
  • The officer was not properly trained to perform field sobriety tests

While police have been using them for years, field sobriety tests are not scientifically accurate and are not capable of determining a person’s actual level of intoxication. In fact, the symptoms that police sometimes mistake for intoxication can be attributed to many other illnesses and health conditions that a person might have.

How Do I Refuse an Officer’s Request to Perform a Field Sobriety Test?

If you are pulled over by police, you are only required to comply with their request for your license, insurance, and registration. Anything that the officer asks you beyond this is to benefit their case for a DUI arrest. The officer will likely ask you questions like, “Where were you coming from?” or “Where you headed?” You do not have to answer these questions. Instead, polity asks if you are under arrest. If the officer says no, you are not required to submit to questioning. If you end up being arrested, remain silent and wait until you can speak with your attorney.

Are you or a loved one facing DUI charges? Our team of Dayton DUI attorneys has the skills and experience you need to protect your rights. We have the resources to build a strong defense strategy that will ensure you get the outcome you deserve. Call (937) 685-7006 today to schedule an appointment with our legal team. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.