If The Arresting Officer Rushed Me Through My Booking In The Holiday Season Can It Help My DUI Case?
If the arresting officer rushes you through the booking process over the holiday season, it may help your case. An officer rushing to get the job done to get back out on the road or rushing to get off duty from working a long shift can possibly help your defense. Experienced DUI lawyers, during the discovery process, will always ask the prosecution for the evidence that is not readily given to them in the beginning. Aside from the initial police report, I ask for all video, audio, police communication records, and any evidence that demonstrates the first contact the officer had with my client. A video can be especially useful because it can show that an officer pulled someone over quicker than they might have on another night. A video can also show that a field sobriety test was not administered or performed properly.
Officers are supposed to spend a certain amount of time on the field sobriety tests, specifically the horizontal gaze nystagmus test (HGN). The HGN is the test where the driver has to follow the officer’s finger, pen, or light back and forth, from side to side in front of their face. The driver is supposed to keep their head still and follow the moving object with their eyes. Often, on nights when an officer is rushing, they tend to do the test way too fast, and then claim that they saw involuntary jerking in the eyes and lack of smooth pursuit. There’s no way they can do the test that fast and see involuntary jerking of the eyes and lack of smooth pursuit. It’s very unlikely to see if they’re not giving it the proper amount of time. To argue this defense, we can bring in an expert in standardized field sobriety testing and horizontal gaze nystagmus tests during the trial to explain that rushing through the tests and not properly administering them will yield inaccurate results.
An expert such as a retired California highway patrol officer (CHP) who has done these tests thousands of times and trained hundreds of officers can explain to a jury how the tests need to be done. They can establish that the officer’s results are incorrect or show a lack of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Putting doubt in the jurors’ minds is our job, and getting an expert to testify significantly helps our case.
The second field sobriety test, the walk, and turn can also give an inaccurate result if it’s not performed correctly. The officer might explain the instructions too quickly, not explain it fully, or answer questions that the driver may have. The same can be said for the third field sobriety test, the one-leg stand test. Sometimes, when a video is available, the officer will not always direct someone in front of the camera. They often put people over to the side to do these tests. Not taking the time to put someone in front of a camera could be deceitful.
Officers have the ability to put a driver in front of a camera to do a field sobriety test. Not filming the field sobriety test is an injustice. It’s hiding evidence. The tests should always be conducted in front of a camera so that when it’s time to testify, the officer is not going off from their memory or notes. Their account should be from a video that we are able to see because they’re making their judgment on evidence that a juror should also be able to see.
Sometimes, confusion with admonishments may occur. If a driver refuses to do a test, the officer is required to admonish them. If someone does not understand the situation, has questions, or the officer is rushing through the admonishment, a favorable defense for the driver can be argued. Some officers are very quick to say that someone is refusing a test. But, most officers are good at this process and give people a number of chances because they don’t want to have to get a warrant and do a blood draw. In other words, they want to give people a chance to take the test and understand what the law is because it can be confusing, and if people have been drinking, they may not be as coherent when they’re supposed to listen. In cases where the officer might be in a hurry or impatient with someone, they might go straight into the refusal, and we could potentially fight the case successfully.
It’s crucial to talk with an experienced drunk driving lawyer in the San Francisco Bay area who can evaluate your case and review all the evidence, the breath records, blood records, statements, video and audio, and anything that can help win your case.
For more information on Rushing A DUI Arrest In The Holiday Season, a FREE case evaluation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (415) 523-7878 today.
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