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DUI: Is it relevant to prosecution of case the police officer failed to document I understood Field Sobriety Test instructions?

Atlanta, GA |

My brake rotors made a loud grinding sound attracting attention of an officer as I parked at a QT. Officer believed I hit the curb. He asked if I had anything to drink, I said no. He instructed me to take SFST - Walk and Turn. Recited alphabet no problem. Officer instructed I could use my arms "a little", but "not much." Asked for clarification on this and the turning process. I knew grading was subjective and wanted to do it right.

This apparently annoyed him and he told me to just start. Tested near front of store with 10+ witnesses present - none questioned. During test, car pulled into parking space w/high beams on within 3-5 feet from me. I stopped & asked if I should continue or start over. Pissed him off; was arrested. Report doesn't state I understood instructions, which I didn't

I've read that if it is isn't in the report, generally speaking, it didn't happen. Failure to document understanding of SFST instructions can - as folk lore goes - be as fatal to successfully prosecuting a case as failure to document the Implied Consent was read. The police report - written almost 1,000 days ago - omits numerous potential observations. No slurring. No leaning. No stumbling. No fumbling with license. No glassy eyes. No flushed face. No video. No SFST. No physical evidence (I know, big strike against me for refusal). Flawless ABC recitation was noted, however.

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

Sounds like you could have quite a few good issues to use in your defense. The issue of field sobriety test instructions isn't likely to help you avoid prosecution in and of itself, but in the hands of the right DUI attorney, such errors can be used to your full advantage in pretrial arguments or at trial.

Hire a qualified DUI attorney in your area - and there are several top-notch DUI attorneys in Atlanta, and get their help in tackling this case.

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Posted

This is all useful information for negotiating your case or fighting it at trial. It's just a matter of getting the prosecutor to acknowledge the problems with the field sobriety evaluations and/or convincing a jury that the tests are unreliable, if it comes to that. Call around and find a DUI attorney you're comfortable with; our office is very well respected in Atlanta and we are happy to discuss your case at no charge. Call 404-881-8866. Best wishes to you.

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Posted

The issue of whether or not the officer recorded asking you if you understood the instructions is minor, compared to other issues here. As a defense attorney who handles a lot of DUIs in the Atlanta area, I can tell you that you really need someone working for you to get all the information available and to start putting pressure on the prosecutor to see the weaknesses in their case. Please let me know if I can be of assistance. I would be happy to help.

Regards,

M. Jason Rhoades

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Posted

These are great questions to ask your attorney. You need an attorney.

I am an attorney. I am not your attorney unless you have signed a written contract with me and given me money. This is information for educational purposes only, and no attorney-client privilege exists.

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