The modern DUI case is not as simple as you might think. There is more to it than walking a straight line, touching your finger tips with your eyes closed, and blowing into a breathalyzer. Here are some of the primary “tests” used in DUI cases and some of the issues surrounding them.
1. Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (“SFSTs”)
There are three basic tests approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”): (1) the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, the Walk and Turn, and the One Leg Stand. According to the NGTSA, the accuracy of the results is improved when all three tests are administered and scored in the standardized manner the officer was taught. Unfortunately, some officers forget their training and will later insist they administered the tests in the manner they were taught. Another issue associated with these tests is the items officers are trained to score are not typically items “untrained” persons will care about, e.g. whether a suspect’s feet were exactly touching heel to toe, or whether a suspect pointed his/her toes down instead of up.
2. Drug Recognition Expert (“DRE”)
Sometimes a breath test comes back .00. Sometimes an officer suspects impairment from a substance other than alcohol. What then? The answer: The drug recognition expert. These officers receive a week of training plus field practice. The DRE consists of taking vital signs such as blood pressure and temperature, measuring the size of the pupils, conducting additional psychophysical tests and asking the suspect about drug use and medical history. The only opinion the DRE is allowed to give is whether he/she believes a suspect is under the influence of a particular category of drug. SFSTs and DREs are highly subjective. That is why all 50 states have implied consent laws that require a person arrested for DUI to subjit to a chemical test or risk losing their license. In most states, like Kansas, one is presumed to be DUI based on a chemical test result of a blood alcohol content of 0.08.
3. Breath Testing
Before a chemical test can be admissible, the state must show that the test was administered within two hours of arrest and that all applicable rules were followed. State laws dictate which testing and devices can be used, the sequence to be followed, and the method of reporting results. A good defense lawyer will not accept the number printed and attack the various breath testing devices or the results through cross-examination and expert witnesses who can testify about how the machines can give incorrect results and raise doubt about the printed number. In Kansas, there have been a number of successful attacks on the admissibility of reports generated by breath testing devices.
4. Blood Tests
Blood tests take more time and cost more money. Consequently, they are administered less frequently. In the past, these tests were challenged less frequently because of the perceived integrity of the test. However, just like other tests, to be admissible at trial, blood test results must have been collected and tested in accordance with certain rules. Kansas does not allow forced blood draws without a warrant unless death, or serious bodily injury, is involved.
Tests of one type, or another, will likely always be a part of DUI cases. Knowledge is power in a DUI case. Therefore, it is critical that you contact an attorney from our law office to discuss your case. We understand these the tests involved and may be able discredit them to beat your DUI charge in Kansas.
CALL OVERLAND PARK DUI LAWYER STACEY L. SCHLIMMER TODAY!