When you are accused of drunk driving, one of the key pieces of evidence against you will be the officer testimony. The most important part of that testimony is often the police officer’s observations of your driving technique prior to being pulled over. In some cases, like those that involve an accident, civilian witnesses may provide this part of the evidence. Your lawyer can make the jury question this testimony though -especially the part regarding your driving.
What Makes Police Think a Driver is Drunk
Generally speaking, an officer testifying in a DUI trial will usually discuss a driver’s speed, ability to stay within the lanes of the road, violations of traffic laws and other indicators that the operator of the vehicle was not safely driving. While these sound damaging to your case -especially when taken altogether, good attorneys can argue all of these points to show that you were driving quite reasonably in a particular set of circumstances.
Driving the Wrong Speed
In many cases, the officer will claim the driver was driving too fast or too slow. In some cases, the officer might claim the driver was varying between driving too fast, however this can be countered by both the idea that the driver (like many drivers) became nervous when he observed a police officer following him, and with the fact that many cars are difficult to keep at a single, steady speed.
Weaving in and Out of Lanes
When the police use “weaving” as evidence of a driver’s intoxication, lawyers will often counter that there are a number of vehicular issues that cause cars to pull to one side or another. Your lawyer could even go so far as to hire a mechanic to examine your car to prove that the car has a mechanical issue that makes it difficult to drive in a straight line. Additionally, even a police officer will admit that no car will drive in a perfectly straight line forever, so it only makes sense that people will have to correct the vehicle’s direction throughout their drive.
The Black and White Fever Defense
A common defense used to question the officer’s observations is known as “black-and-white” fever. This condition occurs when someone notices that a police vehicle is following them and they start looking in their rear view mirror more and more often until it affects their concentration and ability to drive. Many jurors will relate with this feeling and recognize that it is entirely possible that someone would start to drive poorly when they are too focused on a police vehicle that is following them.
How Attorneys Question Officer Testimony
Finally, your lawyer will also question why the police officer kept following the vehicle if they believed the person operating the car was a danger to society because he or she was intoxicated. With this defense, the officer will either admit that the suspect’s driving wasn’t really that bad or that he chose to let a dangerous driver continue to drive so he could gather additional evidence -putting the public at risk in the process.
If you are charged with drunk driving, remember that you can fight the accusations. Please call Peter M. Liss at (760) 643-4050 to schedule a free initial consultation.
Creative Commons Image by Patrick Fitzgerald