Winning Strategies for DUI Cases
There are many successful strategies for use in DUI cases and two that have been particularly successful are (1) reviewing the communication between the arresting officer and the police headquarters’ dispatcher and (2) visiting the scene where the client was stopped.
(1) Reviewing the Communication: Here are some examples of revelations we uncovered by purchasing a CD of the voice communication at the time the officer said he had reasonable grounds and/or belief that the driver was impaired or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Often there are inconsistencies between what the officer says are the grounds for the stop of the driver and what is written by the police officer in his or her incident report. For instance, the officer says in the report that the driver crossed the shoulder lines on the left side of the road (which on the citation is expressed correctly as not following a traffic control device) but tells the dispatcher that the driver was speeding. As a second example, the officer says to the dispatcher that the driver was driving into the opposite lane and in the middle of the street when, in fact, the driver was on a one way street. Further, the officer then writes in the report that the reason for the stop was failure to come to a complete stop at a stop sign.
The cost of the DVD from the Howard County Police Department is $70.00 as it just went up in cost from $40.
[See also our blog describing “probable cause” more fully in the Criminal section of our website. See also in the Criminal section, the penalties and fines for conviction of DUI, DWI and points. Also see the article within our website ”Do the Police Lie?”
(2) Visiting the Scene: When administering the Field Sobriety Tests, the officers are required to state in their reports that the conditions where the FSTs were performed were reasonable and fair. Using word processing, they have sentences that state “the ground where the test was conducted was flat, free of cracks or debris”, and that the officer “demonstrated each test before it was administered”. When I have visited the scene with my clients, often I have taken photographs that show that the FSTs were performed on a severe slope/hill, of as much as a 45 degree angle, or that the surface had many cracks and stones and/or debris.
Through the use of computers and word-processing, police officers are able to quickly and efficiently prepare their reports. However, often officers complete their reports several hours to a day after the time of the arrest and, if they have made six or seven arrests in one night, they sometimes confuse the circumstances surrounding one arrest with another. By visiting the scene and comparing what we see there with what is stated in the report, we are often able to note when such confusion has occurred.
—The following are other strategies that, when appropriate, have proven of benefit to our clients. Before administering a Field Sobriety Test, the officer is supposed to ask the driver whether the driver has any physical impairment, such as surgeries or hip or ankle problems, which would interfere with his or her performance of the FSTs. Often times, this question is not asked. Also, one of the requirements for performance of the FST is that the driver cannot be 50 or more pounds overweight. Many drivers who have more than a few extra pounds are not aware of this standard and an officer may not tell these drivers that the test will not be valid because of their weight. Therefore, we will challenge the test if our client is 50 or more pounds overweight.
The above are a few of the many strategies we can utilize in your defense.