Casting Reasonable Doubt on the Government’s Case

There are a number of points I consider when building a defense for DUI cases to cast reasonable doubt. These include:

  • What observations did the officer write in his report regarding the driver? What did he see? What did he hear? What did he smell? Does the officer use strong or weak language in his report? Did the officer follow the DWI Detection Manual as he/she should? Or did the police officer deviate from that which is expected of him/her?
  • Many DUI cases turn on the driver’s ability to perform voluntary road side field sobriety tests. Voluntary Field Sobriety Tests much like drunk driving cases in general have many moving parts? The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test (HGN); The Walk & Turn Test; The One Legged Stand Test all require some form of instruction, demonstration and performance. The HGN Test in particular requires the police officer to use very precise measurements in order to make accurate observations of the driver’s alleged impairment. That said, if the test was not instructed properly, how is it reasonable to expect satisfactory results? If the test was not demonstrated properly, how is it reasonable to expect satisfactory results? If the test was not performed properly by the officer (The HGN Test), how is it reasonable to expect satisfactory results? I call this “garbage in, garbage out”. If the math is done wrong, you get the wrong answer. This is not a high school math test. This is your life. Your job. Your livelihood. Your freedom. Understood.
  • One of my favorite tools to bring to trial on DUI cases is the “DWI Detection & Standardized FST Student Manual”. The officer’s bible when it comes to Field Sobriety Testing in the State of Washington. It is chock full of useful information when it comes to cross-examining law enforcement. Put the officer to the test by grilling them in front of the jury on the ‘Detection Manual’.
  • Did you know there are over 20 clues an officer is instructed on when it comes to spotting “impaired” driving? But what if you were only stopped based on 1 of over 20 clues? The jury should be entitled to hear all facets of your driving you performed satisfactorily?

Access to Counsel:

As established by Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), you have the following rights: (1) The right to remain silent; (2) You have the right at this time to an attorney; (3) Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law; (4) You have the right to talk to an attorney before answering any questions; (5) You have the right to have an attorney present during the questioning; (6) If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you without cost if you so desire; (7) You can exercise these rights at any time; (8) Do you understand these rights?

Again, in terms of challenging the State’s case and all of its moving parts, were you Mirandized? Were you Mirandized properly? Were you permitted access to counsel? Did you invoke your right to remain silent? Was your right to remain silent honored? Did you ask to speak with an attorney? Was a list of attorney’s provided to you? What opportunities were you given to call an attorney? When you spoke with an attorney on the phone did the officer remain in the room? Did you ask the police officer to step outside to give you privacy? Did the attorney ask the officer to step outside to give you privacy? Did the officer comply with your request?

There are many, many ways to explore this topic in greater detail – but the point I am trying to make is, if you were effectively denied access to counsel because the officer did not follow proper police procedure, you can challenge your breath or blood test as a result. Why should the government gain a disadvantage to its case based on its own mistakes?

Read Challenging Breath Test or Blood Test Evidence for more information regarding my defense of DUI cases…