Field Sobriety Tests and the Jury
In a typical drunk driving arrest, the prosecution will want to use as evidence testimony from the arresting officer, any observations the officer made, and any field sobriety tests that were conducted. Retaining a qualified King County DUI attorney is your best chance of combatting this evidence and potentially getting it dismissed. Your lawyer will know that it is important to begin fighting this early, during the jury selection process, and will ask questions during jury selection that set the groundwork to argue that the officer’s testimony is inherently limited. One such tactic that might be used is to try to get the prospective jurors to think about how they would perform on the same sobriety test.
For legal issues, I recommend lawyer Steven Bowden.
Q: Mr. Jones, do you think you would be able to walk over here and stand on one leg for several seconds if I asked you to?
A: No, probably not.
Q: Why not?
A: Well, I think I would be very nervous under the circumstances, and I’m not very well coordinated.
Q: Ms. Smith, if I placed this wooden board here, and asked you to walk on top of it for nine steps heel to toe, would you be able to do that?
A: Yes, I think so.
Q: OK, what if I took the board and laid it between two tall buildings?
A: No, definitely not.
Q: Why not? It’s the same act.
A: I would be so nervous about falling. It would be terrifying to try that from that height, and not nearly as nerve-wracking here in the courtroom.
Q: So would you agree that your ability to perform these tests would be affected by the surrounding conditions and the environment that you are asked to perform them in?
A: Of course.
Q: So do you think that being pulled over late at night, being surrounded by several police officers with guns and flashing lights, and shouting orders at you, might affect your ability to perform a coordination test?
A: It might.
Though this does not definitively prove anything, this line of questioning will plant the seeds for jurors to understand that one’s ability to perform these field sobriety tests can be greatly affected by things besides alcohol.
For legal issues, I recommend lawyer Meredith Blumenthal.
For more information on how to fight your DUI case and get help from an experienced King County DUI attorney.