Police Testimony in a DUI Trial

2700411207_d77dea6449Recent headlines reported that a state representative from Nashville was arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI) as well as an implied consent violation. At the traffic stop, the politician, William Beck, started to undergo field sobriety tests but then declined to continue. He also refused to undergo a chemical test to measure his blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Beck vehemently defended his innocence in a statement to the media, which means his case may likely go to trial to fight his charges completely instead of ending in a guilty plea.

The two major types of evidence used in a DUI trial are the results of chemical tests and testimony of the arresting officer. Since Beck did not submit to any chemical tests, the main evidence that a prosecutor will probably present at trial is officer testimony. Testimony regarding a DUI stop can be problematic, however. Officers generally report the exact same observations in every DUI stop, and Beck’s case is no different. The arrest affidavit for Beck’s case stated the following regarding what the officer allegedly observed:

  • Watery and bloodshot eyes
  • Slurring of speech
  • Odor of alcohol in the vehicle and on his person
  • Disheveled appearance
  • Swaying while standing

The problem with this report is that almost every single DUI arrest affidavit across the United States claims some version of the above observations. Officers apparently always notice red and bloodshot watery eyes, smell the odor of alcohol, notice difficulty with balance, hear slurred speech, and other similar characteristics. While many of these may be typical signs of intoxication, it is highly unlikely that officers observe the same signs of drunkenness at every DUI traffic stop.

Additionally, many law enforcement officers who patrol the streets stop thousands of people and make hundreds of arrests. Often, by the time a DUI case gets to trial, the officer has probably arrested several more drivers on suspicion of DUI with similar circumstances. The chances that an officer will be able to distinctly remember the specific details of one particular arrest are slim. This makes it even more questionable that officers testify to the same observations in most cases. It almost seems as if officers have a type of script for DUI trial testimony.

Fortunately for DUI defendants, an experienced defense attorney has the opportunity to cross-examine any arresting officers who testify at trial. This gives the defense the ability to challenge the cookie-cutter testimony, find holes in the officer’s story, and otherwise question the accuracy of the testimony. If the testimony is called into question, the prosecutor’s case against you may also be questioned.

Contact an experienced Denver DUI defense lawyer for assistance with your case

It is extremely important for anyone facing DUI allegations to consult with a skilled DUI attorney as soon as possible following your arrest. A lawyer can build an aggressive defense in your case to achieve the best possible outcome for you. Even if your case does not go to trial, the assistance of a qualified defense attorney is imperative, so call the Tiftickjian Law Firm in Denver at 303-DUI-5280 today for help.

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