​Law Office of Joshua Hall

Columbus Criminal Defense Attorney

DUI / OVI Testing Methods

There are two different testing methods for a DUI/OVI: a Standardized Field Sobriety Test and a Chemical Test.

What is a Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST)?

The Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) involves three different evaluations:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus: If an individual is impaired, they will experience involuntary jerking of their eye when asked to visually follow an object without moving their head.
  • Walk and Turn: When asked to take nine steps heel-to-toe along a straight line, turn, and return in the same fashion, officers will take note if the individual is unable to balance, does not walk heel-to-toe, is incapable of staying on the line, or does not follow the directions in terms of the correct number of steps, or the appropriate turn.
  • One Leg Stand: When asked to stand on one leg for 30 seconds, an officer will note if the individual is unable to balance, hops to maintain balance, or puts their foot down.

 An individual’s performance during these three evaluations is an indicator of their Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) and provides cause for a DUI/OVI arrest.

What is a Chemical Test?

Chemical Tests include portable breath testing, breath-testing, and blood and urine testing.

  • Portable Breath Tests – Results from portable breath tests are not considered admissible in court but can provide probable cause for arrest 
  • Breath-Testing Machines – Readings from non-portable machines approved by the Ohio Department of Health measure an individual’s Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) and readings are admissible in court. 
  • Blood and Urine Testing – Blood and urine samples can be taken within three hours of the alleged violation to show an offender’s Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) as well as the presence of any illicit substances.

Under Ohio law, an individual can legally refuse this testing but there are consequences for a refusal.*

Consequences of Refusal?  

In addition to having at least 6 points added to your license, an individual charged with a DUI/OVI who refuses testing will have their license suspended for the following duration:

  •  First offense: 1-year license suspension
  • Second offense (within 6 years): 2-year license suspension
  • Third offense (within 6 years): 3-year license suspension
  • Fourth offense (within 6 years): 5-year license suspension

*If you have been convicted of, or pled guilty to, 2 or more DUIs/OVIs in the past 6 years you cannot legally refuse testing.