This is the second installment in our three part blog post that presents a few examples of defenses that Kansas DUI defense attorney Stacey Schlimmer may use to protect clients from the harsh consequences of a DUI conviction. We invite you to review the prior installment of this blog post before reviewing the information below. The specific defense strategy that is best suited to your case will depend on your specific facts and circumstances so we encourage you to schedule an initial consultation to get more specific information about the available defenses in your Kansas DUI case.
Attacking the Allegedly “Objective” Signs of Intoxication
If the officer has stopped your vehicle, he will request your license and registration. Typically, the officer will attempt to initiate a conversation, which may include inquiries about where you are coming from and whether you have been drinking. The purpose of this conversation is two-fold: (1) obtaining incriminating statements and (2) observing the driver. The police look for what are referred to as “objective” signs of intoxication. These so-called signs of intoxication include slurred speech, flushed face, odor of alcohol on a driver’s breath, bloodshot watery eyes and/or an unsteady gait. The officer will note any of these traits as “objective” physical symptoms of alcohol impairment.
The reality is that many times officers may simply list these characteristics by rote in a police report. Sometimes Ms. Schlimmer will look at prior police reports from the same officer or department to identify situations where this litany of traits is simply pre-printed in a standard report. She may question the officer to expose inconsistencies about these supposed observations. When the officer is relying on a form that is by rote rather than based on actual recollection of observations, Ms. Schlimmer often uses aggressive cross-examination to expose the officer’s lack of genuine observation of these so-called objective signs of impairment.
Even when the officer accurately notes these physical symptoms, they do not necessarily amount to “objective” criteria of intoxication. Many of these signs and symptoms are as likely to be caused by other conditions including:
Bad Driving Is Not the Same as Drunken Driving
The police officer and prosecutor will often use examples of poor driving to demonstrate that a motorist was intoxicated when operating a motor vehicle in Kansas. The officer may even cite a pattern of driving consistent with impairment by drugs or alcohol as the basis for the initial stop. However, drivers that are stone cold sober commit most traffic violations. There are many reasons that someone may drive poorly including lack of sleep or driver inattention.
Further, many officers will cite driving behavior like speeding as part of this so-called “pattern of driving” despite the fact that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does not recognize speeding as a driving characteristic that is symptomatic of DUI. Ms. Schlimmer also may elicit testimony from the officer indicating that for every example of poor driving testified to by the officer, the driver executed a dozen driving maneuvers perfectly.
You need an aggressive DUI lawyer to protect your rights. Overland Park DUI attorney Stacey Schlimmer aggressively defends her clients’ facing DUI charges in Johnson County or the surrounding areas of Kansas. Our Kansas criminal defense law firm offers a confidential free consultation so call us today at 913.341.0484 or contact us online.