There Is An Area Of The NHTSA Guide That Talks About Drug Recognition Experts
Interviewer: What about drug related DUIs? If they are impaired, do they perform tests in a different manner or the police officer administer the tests differently or the same tests?
Zach Peagler: There is a whole other area of the NHTSA guide that talks about drug recognition experts and the necessity for those in drug related impairment cases but in Alabama there’s no out and out requirement that the arresting officer be a drug recognition expert but there’s certainly an argument that can be made in court. If they’re trying to base the DUI on intoxication of an illegal substance besides alcohol, then it’s certainly something that can be argued in the trial that the person that was administering the tests wasn’t properly trained to look for drug impairment clues.
It is Advisable to Inform the Police Officers of any Unfair Conditions Prior to Refusing the FSTs
Interviewer: Would someone in that kind of situation may want to refuse, what would be the best way for them to or possibly a good way to inform an officer that they are politely refusing?
Zach Peagler: I think it’s well within your rights to tell the police officer for various reasons, health or nervousness or any other unfair conditions of the test, lighting, the condition of the road that you don’t feel is in your best interest to perform any field sobriety test. I think the more an individual can document that, on the side of the road, the better it is for them. For instance, I don’t think it’s going to help you as much if you say
It is Beneficial for the DUI Defendant to Back Up Their Refusal with an Articulate Reason
‘I’m not taking any of your tests’ vs. I feel that my medical conditions are going to be an unfair hindrance to me in taking these tests or I feel that the lighting out here is too poor for me to take these tests or I feel that I’m so nervous and you feel like I’m already guilty of something, I don’t want to take the test. That’s going to be better served in court that you were going ahead and articulating your concerns on the side of the road vs. saying I’m not taking any of your tests and then coming back to court a year later and saying the reason I didn’t do was because I was nervous or had a medical condition or something like that. If you’re going ahead and making those statements at the time of the arrest, I think that bolsters your case.
Police Officers May Ask Women to Take Off High Heeled Shoes Prior to Administering the Field Sobriety Tests
Interviewer: Is there any difference between the police officers treatment when it comes to field sobriety tests. Are there different aspects, let’s say a woman was wearing high heels, would they take the test like that?
Zach Peagler: From that stand point, now obviously women are going to be more likely to have on high heels than men so we do see that a lot and how an officer deals with that, sometimes they tell you to take your high heels off and usually they will tell that them that and if the person is got to perform the tests therefore so that’s a disadvantage too. From that stand point they do treat them differently out of necessity in some cases but in general we don’t see too much.. There is certainly nothing in their policy that tells them to treat men and women differently.
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