Are There Any Factors That Can Exempt Someone From These Tests?
Unfortunately, there aren’t any factors in Missouri that can exempt someone from these tests. The National Highway Safety & Traffic Administration has set standards, and all officers have to go through training. The manuals and certification procedures instruct officers to look for indicators that there may be a problem in terms of subjecting a person to the field sobriety tests. However, in an officer’s zeal to do the testing, they sometimes neglect to consider the factors that are indicative of non-intoxication. There are no set standards. If a person has a mental illness, a muscle-related disability or is subject to certain seizures, then the tests should not be done.
Do Standardized Field Sobriety Tests Really Determine If An Individual Is Impaired?
No. An informed lawyer can attack the validity of these tests. In all phases of the standardized field sobriety tests, officers tend to assume that the suspect is guilty and expect them to perform poorly. Furthermore, there are a lot of things that should be written down in order for these tests to be performed correctly, but the officers often fail to document as they should. This is problematic, because if something is not written down, then it will be presumed that the officer didn’t do it or that it didn’t happen. Therefore, the admissibility of the tests should be questioned in a courtroom. Issues like this should be fought for very diligently, because they can affect many rights of drivers and citizens.
Are These Tests Actually Admissible In A Court Of Law?
They are admissible, but they are subject to very aggressive attacks. An attorney with the necessary skill set and training should be able to attack each and every one of the standards that apply to these tests. It is the attorney’s responsibility to ensure that there is sufficient doubt about the way the tests were conducted, and they should always be able to find a reason to attack something that the officer did.
Oftentimes there is a delay between the time that a person is stopped and the time that they are given the official breathalyzer test at the station. During that delay, alcohol is metabolized in a person’s system. So, the question become whether or not the person was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the stop. After about 15 minutes, the likelihood of alcohol being detected increases. In some cases, the delay can be two to four hours. By waiting that long, there will be metabolites of alcohol in the person’s system that may not have been detected had the test been administered at the time of the stop. Because of this, an attorney should always determine when the tests were done.
Are These Tests Generally Recorded By An Officer?
All the tests should be recorded, but I would say that a greater number of the municipal police departments and other law enforcement departments do not record them. They do not have a car camera on when they’re conducting tests. However, the officers do document their reason for stopping the person to begin with, as well as any other observations made (the smell of alcohol, slurred speech, etc.). These details establish what the officer believed to be probable cause, which for the most part is just something that they want to write down so that the case doesn’t get thrown out of court.
What Are Some Common Defense Strategies Used To Refute Field Sobriety Test Results?
If a field sobriety test is not conducted appropriately, then it can be refuted. This is true for every section of every test. The smell of alcohol is not evidence of intoxication, yet officers use that observation against people all of the time. In addition, failure to recite the alphabet in a certain way or skipping every third letter is not evidence of intoxication. Every aspect of these tests can usually be attacked in one way or another as being an insufficient form of evidence of intoxication. Many attorneys don’t understand the significant training that’s required in order show a jury that there may be reasonable doubt as to whether or not a defendant was driving while intoxicated.
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