Published on:

Court Discusses Reliability of Field Sobriety Tests


When a person gets behind the wheel of a car, they are getting behind the wheel of a machine that is heavy enough to kill another person. It is a weapon when used offensively against another. When a person has already proven that they are incapable of using good enough judgment to continue to possess a driver’s license, is found to be driving a vehicle while under the influence, the crime is especially heinous.

However, justice has many steps for a reason. A New York DWI Lawyer said our justice system is an adversarial justice system. The adversarial nature is in place to prevent the mistakes that human beings make. The appeal process is not in place to provide a sounding board for every criminal. A New York DWI Lawyer said there must be a constitutional ground that makes the case worth reviewing once it is past the Superior court level. In one case that involved a habitual violator with a revoked license, a police officer pulled up behind a car that was parked on the side of the road. When the officer approached the vehicle, he noticed that the subject had a strong odor of alcohol about his person and that his eyes were bloodshot and glassy. His speech was slurred and the subject was unsteady on his feet.

Field Sobriety Tests are notoriously questionable. A Nassau County DWI Lawyer said that they are designed for failure, so it is rarely a surprise when a person who has been asked to participate in these tests, does not pass them. In this case, the subject failed two of the three tests, but it is not clear which ones or what the criteria was for the officer to consider the test to be a failure. The defendant maintained that his arrest was illegal because the officer did not see him driving and could not make a determination that his driving was impaired.

The court disagreed and cited the fact that police officers are trained to make determinations of guilt based on the facts surrounding a case. The could make the determination that based on the position of the car and the fact that the subject who was in control of the vehicle was intoxicated, that the person was guilty of DUI. The justices further noted, that the manner in which the subject drove his car was only one of the many factors that resulted in his conviction. Clearly, he was aware at the time that he decided to operate the motor vehicle that his license was suspended or revoked.

A person can be charged with DUI or DWI any time that they are in control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The term, in control of a vehicle, can be something as innocuous, as sitting in a parked car behind the wheel with the keys in the ignition. The person may even be passed out or asleep. If they are in control of the vehicle, it is DUI. The vehicle does not even have to be running, he just has to be in a position to make it run if he were to decide that he wanted to.

Many cases have been brought that demand that the practice of writing traffic violations based on behaviors that have never been witnessed by a police officer, be reviewed. Each time, the courts find that an officer does not have to personally witness the driver violating the law. If the officer can prove probably cause that the person acted in such a manner as to have violated the law, then the officer can write the citation. In this case, he had evidence that the vehicle had been driven. He had the subject behind the wheel of the car and in control of the vehicle. The defendant’s license was in revocation status and he appeared to be under the influence. The conviction was upheld.

It is important that anyone who thinks that they have been charged with DUI contact a contact a New York Criminal Lawyer. A New York DUI Lawyer can help protect your rights and ensure that you receive a fair trial.

Contact Information