Defending Yourself When Subjected To Non Standard Field Sobriety Tests

Instead of a dry, boring article, the following is an excerpt from a recent interview with Attorney Leckerman on the subject.

Kevin Leckerman: I think it’s easier when you’re in front of a jury to explain to the citizens in the community that these tests really aren’t going to show much, and that the average citizen who is under these stressful circumstances is not going to be able to perform the tests according to a police officer’s subjective standards. Even if the person hasn’t been drinking alcohol, I think a normalperson understands that it’s going to be difficult to do these tests. These are strange tests. These are tests that are purposefully designed to trick somebody into doing something incorrectly.

In New Jersey, most of the police officers go through a formal training program with the New Jersey State Police. That program utilizes the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration protocol for standardized field sobriety testing. Therefore, most of the officers use the one-leg stand, walk-and-turn, and HGN tests in their DWI investigations. Some add the alphabet recitation or the finger to nose touch test once in a while. For the most part, they all stick with the three standardized tests. I think that’s just as useful as the non-standardized tests; because, I can then utilize their training manuals to show whether or not they followed the training. If they didn’t’ follow their own training, then it’s easier to get a judge to understand that the tests have less validity than they would when the tests are administered according to protocol.

By Kevin Leckerman

Attorney Kevin Lekerman
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