Archive for the 'Field Tests' Category

Marijuana Field Tests

Nov. 1st 2013

Field Sobriety Test

It is against the law to drive while under the influence of marijuana in Connecticut.  If you are charged with driving under the influence of marijuana, a case will be built against you, showing that you were both under the effects of marijuana, and impaired enough to be a danger to both yourself and others on the road.  Cases concerning marijuana abuse while driving are more difficult cases for the state to win than DUI cases.  This is because there are tests that can prove that you are intoxicated (such as the blood alcohol level test and urine tests), whereas there are no tests to measure THC levels (THC being the active ingredient in marijuana).  If you have used marijuana in the past thirty days, it will show up on a THC level test.  This makes it hard to determine exactly when a driver took marijuana and if it is actually effecting his or her driving.  However, there are other tests designed to determine if a person is under the influence of marijuana while driving.

Police officers will usually take you through several balance and coordination tests in order to determine your level of sobriety.  You might be asked to perform tests such as balancing on one foot or walking in a straight line.  However, these tests do not always stand up in court due to the fact that many factors can affect a driver’s balance.  Furthermore, a police officer might not be able to see clearly depending on the time of day or weather.  These tests can usually be thrown out of court if you hire a competent lawyer. 

Coordination tests can also be used if a police officer pulls you over and believes that you are not sober.  Your dexterity will be investigated based on tests such as your ability to touch your index finger to your nose with your eyes closed, etc.  These tests are also unreliable, because they can be difficult to do even if you are sober.  Many lawyers will be able to have the results of coordination tests thrown out of court.

If a police officer is trying to determine your level of sobriety, he or she might also test your mental state.  One test often used is asking you to recite the alphabet backwards.  Again, this is a difficult test to do correctly even if you are sober, so it isn’t very accurate.  If you fail a test that the police officer asks you to perform, this does not mean that your case is doomed.  You still have a chance to prove your sobriety in court.

Unlike for intoxication, there is no reliable test that can prove if you are under the influence of marijuana while driving or not.  As a result, police officers must rely on inaccurate field tests to assess your level of sobriety.  Even if you fail these tests, if you hire a good lawyer, you can most likely have the results of these tests argued or dismissed.  If you have further questions, you can contact Ruane Attorneys for a free consultation here.

Posted by James Ruane | in Field Tests | No Comments »

Got a Refusal Case? Updated with attached studies

Apr. 19th 2010

April 22 update:  based on response, I am attaching the validation studies for your download

OK, so your client refused the breath, blood or urine test, and the state wants to go forward with the case.  Your client wants a trial and now you are staring at the field tests and need to find a way to minimize the damage the officer will attribute to them.

What if I told you that they were irrelevant and should be suppressed?

You see, the SFST battery was developed to assist officers in determining who was above 0.10 (now “validated at 0.08″) but the research on these tests was never meant to establish that a person could or could not drive.

It says so directly in the the research (but you would have to read all the research to find it)

Until now.

I am attaching to this blog post a motion you can file to suppress the use of the field tests in a common law DUI case.  They are simply irrelevant.  The motion cites the research studies, but I have not attached them to the post.  You can contact me privately if you need them.

There are NO cases which say that the field tests can be used to show the inability to drive – rightfully so – how many people do you know who drive while walking a straight line, or while looking at a pen being moved 12 inches from their face.  Connecticut courts have NOT addressed this specific issue….yet

Motion to Suppress Field Tests in Common Law Case

1998 San Diego Validation Study

1997 NHTSA The Detection of DWI at BACS Below 0.10

1997 Florida Validation Study of the Standardized Field Sobriety Test Battery

Posted by James O. Ruane | in Field Tests | No Comments »