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We will all sleep better tonight knowing...

30 June 2010
Criminal & DUI/DWI Law

We will all sleep better tonight knowing that all of those people being arrested (at least by the LRPD) for DWI are being arrested ONLY after a thorough and accurate investigation of the person’s mental and physical faculties has been conducted.  In honor of our country’s anniversary of its freedom from oppression and tyranny, local law enforcement is going to arrest as many people as it can.

Before they do that, they want to make sure that they aren’t falsely arresting anyone…how nice of them.  So, the LRPD is giving some of its cops a refresher course on Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs).  By the way, it sounds like they only give the refresher course when a cop admits that he needs help…I wonder how often that happens.  The cop interviewed for the story made sure to emphasize the importance of instructing and performing the SFSTs accurately every time so that the judge can rely on his allegation at trial that the person failed them.

Sounds nice.  I am all for officers refreshing their knowledge and skill in SFSTs.  However, regardless of all these refreshers courses, I have NEVER seen a cop perform the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test properly.  NEVER!  Of the 3 SFSTs that exist, this is the one most often relied upon by cops for determining whether you are above the limit.  A defense attorney is lucky to have an officer even ACT like he recognizes the SFST manual.  This is the manual that they are trained with and responsible for knowing by heart.  I have a feeling that this story is a little more about making people feel better about how officers go about “getting drunks off the road,” and little less about making sure that cops aren’t arresting innocent people.  However, I blame the mickey mouse news reporting more than the cops.

Exit light, enter night.