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U.S. DUI News

Are Field Sobriety Tests Designed to be Failed?

Roadside field sobriety tests (“FSTs”) are commonly used by police officers in DUI investigations to determine whether a driver is under the influence of alcohol. Typically, they consist of a battery of 3-5 exercises, such as walk-and turn, one-leg stand, “nystagmus” (“follow the pencil with your eyes”), finger-to-nose, alphabet recitation, “Rohmberg” (eyes-closed-position-of-attention), etc. The officer may subjectively decide whether the individual “failed”, or he may decide after applying recent federal “standardized” scoring. These DUI tests have an aura of scientific ... Read More »

An Introduction to DUI Field Sobriety Tests

 Many people believe that every field sobriety test helps an officer determine if someone is intoxicated. This is not true. Officers may administer and reference many different types of field sobriety tests, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has validated and standardized only three to assist them in making a DUI arrest decision. Collectively these tests are often referred to as NHTSA’s Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, referred to by law enforcement officers as SFSTs, or just FSTs. It ... Read More »

GPS Tracking Devices – SCOTUS Decision

 The 4th Amendment has been resuscitated!! That is good news for Maine citizens arrested for Operating Under the Influence (OUI) and other criminal offenses. Hopefully you recall back in September of 2010, I wrote about GPS tracking devices and a recent decision from the District of Columbia Circuit (“GPS Tracking Devices – A Warrant or Not A Warrant – That is Now the Question”). Well, on Monday we got our answer; kind of…. In United States v. Antoine Jones, #10-1259 Justice Scalia wrote the decision of ... Read More »

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Detector?

Consumers should exercise extreme caution when using any app on a mobile computer to determine whether they are fit to drive. For instance, in late 2011, a company called Breathaleyes began marketing an app on the iTunes store that is to be used to determine whether a person is exhibiting alcohol induced horizontal gaze nystagmus. The HGN is one of the three standardized tests developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to assist officers in determining whether a person’s ... Read More »

DUI Convictions and Breath Test: A Love Affair Gone Wrong?

On June 10, 2010 The Washington Post reported that nearly 400 drunk-driving convictions in Washington D.C. were based on flawed breath tests.  For those unfamiliar with breath tests, “trained” officers using specialized equipment perform breath tests by having the suspect blow into the machine that supposedly determines the blood alcohol level.  Police departments across the nation rely on these devices to prove your guilt.  However, these tests, like all chemical tests, are highly susceptible to human and mechanical error. In this investigation, police officers ... Read More »

Tipsters and the Public Safety Exception

It is becoming increasingly more common for patrol officers to stop citizens based solely upon a telephone call to the police about a particular vehicle being driven in an erratic manner.  We refer to these as BOLO stops—an acronym for “Be On Look Out.”  The problem from a constitutional standpoint is that warrantless seizures are often made without any police observation of vehicle code violations.  The following is a summary of federal and California law on this subject, along with some tips for those ... Read More »

Georgia Roadblocks

Georgia roadblocks are part the state’s successful highway safety program say GA law enforcement officials.  Deputy director for the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, Spencer Moore says, “What we’ve found is that checkpoints are an effective tool to raise public awareness, to deter impaired drivers.  With these checkpoints, we believe the numbers will continue to go in the right direction.” Officials are using roadblocks to lower the number of DUI’s, along with the number of DUI related accidents in Georgia.  Is ... Read More »