Written by attorney Mark Alan Deters

Why would the police take you off camera for the DUI Field Sobriety Tests?

There is great reason for the Troopers to take you off camera: FOR THE TROOPER'S BENEFIT IN COURT! SO HE DOES NOT LOSE AT TRIAL!

Any OVI (DUI) Defense Attorney will tell you that if there is video, it will most likely benefit the Defense, NOT THE COPS! Surprising, you say!? Its the truth. If there is video, and you have an Experienced and Focused DUI (OVI) Defense Attorney, he/she will likely find fault in how the officer administered the field sobriety tests.

It is actually very rare that an officer or trooper administers the standardized field sobriety tests according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requirements. And, those requirements are incorporated into Ohio Revised Code 4511.19 (D)(4)(b), which states "(4)(a) As used in divisions (D)(4)(b) and (c) of this section, “national highway traffic safety administration" means the national highway traffic safety administration established as an administration of the United States department of transportation under 96 Stat. 2415 (1983), 49 U.S.C.A. 105.

(b) In any criminal prosecution or juvenile court proceeding for a violation of division (A) or (B) of this section, of a municipal ordinance relating to operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, a drug of abuse, or alcohol and a drug of abuse, or of a municipal ordinance relating to operating a vehicle with a prohibited concentration of alcohol, a controlled substance, or a metabolite of a controlled substance in the whole blood, blood serum or plasma, breath, or urine, if a law enforcement officer has administered a field sobriety test to the operator of the vehicle involved in the violation and if it is shown by clear and convincing evidence that the officer administered the test in substantial compliance with the testing standards for any reliable, credible, and generally accepted field sobriety tests that were in effect at the time the tests were administered, including, but not limited to, any testing standards then in effect that were set by the national highway traffic safety administration, all of the following apply:

(i) The officer may testify concerning the results of the field sobriety test so administered.

(ii) The prosecution may introduce the results of the field sobriety test so administered as evidence in any proceedings in the criminal prosecution or juvenile court proceeding.

(iii) If testimony is presented or evidence is introduced under division (D)(4)(b)(i) or (ii) of this section and if the testimony or evidence is admissible under the Rules of Evidence, the court shall admit the testimony or evidence and the trier of fact shall give it whatever weight the trier of fact considers to be appropriate."

In plain English, what that means is: "if the cops don't do the tests right, they can't testify about them at trial." That is good for the defense, and bad for the cops.

But, if the cops take the driver off video to do the test, then we can't see what they did wrong. Now, there may be audio, which will help the experienced OVI Defense Attorney, to get to the same place.

Additionally, the officers take drivers off camera, because generally speaking, the field sobriety test results WILL NOT LOOK THAT BAD! That is right, many SFST's are "bad enough for the cops to arrest you," according to the limited requirements they have to meet. BUT, most citizens would watch those same DUI tests and have DOUBT about whether the driver was DUI.

Unless you are dealing with a really good DUI cop, who will likely have the SFST's ON CAMERA, the unexperienced cops would prefer to take people off camera to make their case stronger.

Attorney Mark A. Deters Deters Law LLC (937) 224-1100

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