Debating Field Sobriety Tests in Court
A law enforcement officer’s duty is to perform field sobriety tests on drivers suspected of driving while intoxicated. A King County DUI attorney’s job is to question the validity and results of field sobriety tests in order to defend you against DUI charges.
How will a DUI lawyer attack these tests?
- Promote reasonable doubt about the validity of the tests and their value; and
- Undermine the law enforcement officer’s conclusions drawn from your performance during the field sobriety tests.
How will a prosecuting attorney reply?
- Appeal to the authority of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration;
- Try to bolster the officer’s reputation, training, and administration of the tests;
- Dispute eyewitness statements;
- Establish the correlation between field sobriety tests and alcohol levels.
Whywould he or she endorse the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration?
- Because promoting the Administration emphasizes the amount of development and exploration that went into creating current field sobriety tests.
- Thus, the prosecuting attorney would attempt to justify any field sobriety tests used by police officers and make them appear more precise and scientific than they actually are.
How would the prosecutor bolster the police officer?
- Detail any DUI programs and field sobriety test training that the officer has undergone.
- Mention the officer’s previous experience with DUI suspects in the field and any previous experience with regard to DUI investigations.
- Note any awards or impressive background facts about the law enforcement officer to promote his reputation.
- Attack your King County DUI attorney’s implication that the sobriety tests were administered incorrectly and are therefore invalid.
Can the opposing attorney really disrepute eyewitness statements?
- Yes; his or her goal will be to shine doubt onto any account that does not match the law enforcement officer’s version of the story.
How will the prosecuting lawyer establish the correlation between tests and alcohol levels?
- Provide statistics and field examples to show that field sobriety tests have been useful indicators of impaired behavior.
Prosecuting attorneys do everything in their power to imply that field sobriety tests are reliable indicators of sobriety, so it is up to your King County DUI attorney to fight that implication. Consult an attorney that you can trust.