Month: November 2010

In my previous post, I discussed the benefits of refusing to submit to field sobriety testing if a driver has been stopped for suspicion of DWI/DUI.  Unfortunately for them, many drivers still submit to the tests.  Of the three standardized field sobriety tests, the One Leg Stand (OLS)…the last test that is administered in the battery…is the most unreliable.  How do we know this?  Because it is right there in black and white in the training materials from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

NHTSA informs its trainees that based upon laboratory research, when the OLS is administered in a standardized manner, it was 65% accurate in detecting blood alcohol levels above .10.  Think about that for a minute.  If you were told that the plane you were about to board had highly reliable landing gear that worked 65% of the time, would you board the plane?  A test that is 65% accurate in detecting blood alcohol levels above .10 is chock full of reasonable doubt.  It should come as no surprise that officers have a number of tricks up their sleeves when asked to perform the test in court.


When a police officer orders a driver to stop his or her vehicle, the driver’s first instinct typically is to sheepishly admit the mistake and answer the officer’s questions.  The officer asks if the driver had been drinking and the driver responds with the standard “one or two beers.”  The driver mistakenly believes that honesty will somehow get the driver out of the situation and avoid an arrest.  Unfortunately, the driver couldn’t be more wrong.

Having undergone the same alcohol detection training that is required of police officers, I can tell you that if the officer asks a driver to step out of the vehicle, the driver is likely facing arrest.  Alcohol detection consists of three phases. The first phase is known as “Vehicle In Motion.”  Officers are trained on 24 visual cues of a vehicle which would prompt an officer to stop the vehicle for the purpose of a possible DUI.  By the time an officer knocks on the driver’s window, the officer already has noted some aspect of the vehicle’s movement…whether you agree or not…which prompted the officer to stop the vehicle.


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