Over the past few years, many states have been adjusting their DUI and DWI laws to close off loopholes, to make them more fair, or to tighten up the penalties. In some cases, these changes work. But for most states, the reality is that they create more problems than they solve. A good DUI attorney knows how to navigate them. But really, shouldn’t the laws better address how subjective field sobriety testing is?
Is Field Sobriety Testing Really Subjective?
Definitely! The field sobriety tests used to evaluate whether a driver is truly under the influence have little-to-no uniformity. A lot of police officers aren’t fully trained on adequate testing methods, which means they don’t have a good standard. They wind up letting some drunk drivers off while taking in others, who might not even be drunk, for blood or urine testing.
On top of this, breathalyzer tests are unreliable. They require tuning, which a lot of officers skip, assuming they administer the test properly in the first place. (Hint: many of them do not.) This leads to a lot of drivers being hit with a DUI charge when they weren’t actually over the legal limit.
BAC Rises over Time
Alcohol’s effects aren’t immediate. It takes time for it to raise your BAC. For example, imagine you’re at a bar about 10 minutes away from your house. You’re drinking with your friends, but haven’t hit the legal limit yet. It’s time for you to head home. But first, you throw a couple more drinks back. Those drinks aren’t immediately in your system. They won’t impact your senses right away. Assuming you weren’t already impaired, you could make it home before you start to feel anything, or before your BAC goes over .08.
But what if you get pulled over? An officer stops you on suspicion of DUI on your way home. At that point, your blood alcohol content might not be over the limit. If you, however, refuse a breathalyzer at that point and get taken in for a blood test, those last two drinks could push your BAC into the DWI zone.
The law doesn’t have a good way to account for the fact that you could have made it home perfectly safely if that officer hadn’t pulled you over.
The Less-Experienced Officer
Police officers with less DUI knowledge and experience tend to make arrests more often. There are several reasons behind this. But the biggest issue is that they’d rather play it safe and make the arrest. Their lack of experience and the lack of uniformity in the law and in training are the real issues. They make it hard to differentiate whether drivers are actually under the influence in cases when it’s entirely up for debate.
If you’re pulled over for a DUI, you could find yourself a guinea pig to subjective methods of field sobriety testing. Don’t let subjectivity seal your fate. Defense attorney Mark Thiessen and the team at Thiessen Law Firm can help. We have a proven track record of getting our clients the results they deserve. Just because you’re in a bad situation now doesn’t mean it has to impact the rest of your life. Contact us at 713-864-9000 or using our online form to request a free consultation