Top 10 Invalid Police Officer Field Sobriety Test Mistakes

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Attorney Christopher J McCannBy Christopher J McCann a DUI attorney in Orange County, California

So you’re driving or busy on some other duties and the police officer wants to perform some field sobriety tests to establish how fit you are for the activity. You are worried on your fate due to the mistakes that the field sobriety test is prone to. The officer should understand that the test will be used in your prosecution and therefore should try to avoid these mistakes. Here are the top 10 invalid police officer field sobriety test mistakes. The officer should ensure that these mistakes are avoided to ensure justice to the defendant.

1. Poor testing area

Police officers should ensure that the nature of testing area passes the set guidelines. Steep and wet areas are not favorable for performing the test as even a sober person may not pass the test in such areas. Instead the officer should ensure that the area is flat and dry and usable by a sober person.

2. Lack of baseline

Most officers does not even know how the defendant would perform the test without alcohol. This is necessary so that it can be used for comparison purposes between the two states. What I mean here is that the officer should have some clue on an individual nature.

3. Lack of knowledge by some police officers

Some officers are new to the game and may have no experience in performing the test. This passes among the top 10 invalid police officer field sobriety test mistakes since the experience is necessary to guarantee for fair test.

4. Giving complex instruction in a relatively short period of time –

An officer should ask an individual to undertake a complex task in a very short period of time. Some will give you 10- 15 seconds which are not enough.

5. Using odor to determine the alcohol level –

Another top 10 invalid police officer field sobriety test mistakes is use of odor to determine the alcohol level. Some questions like when he had taken the alcohol, how much he had taken are usually left unanswered.

6. Poorly administered HGN –

The HGN test should be properly administered to ensure that justice is performed to all.

7. Use of slurred speech to suggest intoxication

Slurred speech should not be used to determine the level of intoxication. Some individuals may have slurred speech in their sober state. Another top 10 invalid police officer field sobriety test mistakes done by the officers.

8. Flushed face should not be used to suggest intoxication

Flushed face may be as a result of many reasons. For example anger, sun burns, make ups and others. This should therefore not be used to conclude intoxication in an individual. Rosy complexions are as a result of many circumstances.

9. Poor administration of the one leg stand test

Many officers will administer the one leg stand with different variations. Some will ask an individual to keep the foot up indefinitely which is not possible. Others will ask you to place the hands up. All this is unfair to the performer.

10. Wrong tasks when walking on the line

The walking on the line test should be performed as per the guidelines to avoid being unbiased.

There are other mistakes that would pass for the top 10 invalid police officer field sobriety test mistakes and should be avoided since police officers should do as they were trained to follow proper field sobriety testing procedure

About Guest Post Author:

Christopher J. McCann is a Newport Beach DUI Attorney. McCann is a practicing OC criminal defense lawyer at the law offices of Christopher J. McCann who was recently awarded his 6th SuperLawyers Magazine “Rising Star” award. You can follow Chris tweets at @cjm_law_firm 

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