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Administration of the test

If you have been arrested for DUI, you should discuss your case with a Redlands DUI attorney to see if there might be grounds for a defense. Sometimes the officers do not properly administer the field sobriety tests such as the one-leg stand test. This test mandates that the suspect stand upright while on one leg. The other leg should then be extended in front of the suspect in a stiff posture, with the foot held six inches both above as well as parallel with the ground. The suspect must then stare at the raised foot, and count aloud until ordered to cease, in the following manner: “one thousand and one, one thousand and two, one thousand and three …”

Redlands DUI Attorney

The officer is trained to administer the test in the following manner:

  • Order suspect to stand with his or her feet together and arms at their sides
  • Tell suspect to hold that position while being instructed; highlight that they should not commence with the test until told to “begin.”
  • Ask suspect if he or she comprehends.
  • Tell suspect that when the officer orders them to “begin” they need to lift their leg in a stiff posture, and hold their foot roughly six inches above the ground, with their toe pointed forward, making the foot parallel to the ground.
  • Give a model of the correct one-legged stance.
  • Tell suspect that they must keep their arms at their sides and are mandated to continue looking straight at the raised foot, while simultaneously counting in the following way: “one thousand and one, one thousand and two, one thousand and three,” and so on until asked to cease.
  • Ask the suspect if they understand.
  • Order the suspect to “begin.”

The officer is also provided with the following order:

  • It is vital that the test last for thirty seconds. You are tasked with and required to keep time during this period. In the event that the suspect is a slow counter, you shall notify them when an actual thirty seconds has gone by, regardless of where the suspect is in their own count.

If the above information has left any unanswered questions or concerns, contact Redlands DUI Attorney Scott Stotz at 888-214-9153 for a free consultation.

Administration of the One-Leg Stand Test

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Your Redlands DUI attorney will tell you that the one-leg stand test requires that the suspect stand on only one leg, with the other leg extended in front using a stiff-leg method. The foot should be kept parallel to the ground and elevated about six inches above it.  The officer instructs the suspect to stare continuously at the foot that is elevated while counting aloud until the officer says to stop.  The counting should be done in a “one thousand and one, one thousand and two …” fashion.

Your Redlands DUI attorney will advise you that the officer is given instructions to administer the test in the following manner:

  • Instruct suspect to stand holding arms down at his or her side with both feet together.
  • Instruct suspect to maintain position while the officer gives instructions.  Care should be taken to make sure the suspect understands not to start the test until he or she hears the officer say “begin.”
  • Ask the suspect if he or she understands.
  • Instruct suspect to raise his or her leg, keeping it stiff, and keep the foot about six inches above the ground after you say “begin.”  Instruct suspect to point toes forward to keep foot parallel to the ground.
  • Demonstrate for suspect the proper stance for the test.
  • Instruct suspect to keep staring at elevated foot and keep his or her arms at the side while counting as follows:  “one thousand and one, one thousand and two …” until instructed to stop.
  • Ask if suspect understands.
  • Instruct suspect to “begin.”

The following instruction is also given to the officer:

  • The officer needs to keep track of time to ensure that the test lasts for thirty seconds.  If thirty real seconds have passed but the suspect has counted more slowly than real time and has not reached thirty seconds, the officer should instruct the suspect to stop.

Contact Us

If you have been charged with a DUI, you need a legal professional to advocate for your rights. Scott Stotz is an experienced and knowledgeable Redlands DUI attorney who can help you with your case.  For a free initial consultation, please call 888-214-9153.

Breath Testing in Court

When preparing a DUI case for trial, an experienced Redlands DUI attorney will gather all information necessary to properly represent his or her client within the context of the particular DUI charges filed. For example, when representing a client in a “breath case” or a case involving a client who submitted to a breath alcohol test, the lawyer will examine various criteria for use in court.

Redlands DUI attorney

Investigation

 

Your Redlands DUI attorney will utilize independent investigation to seek information for use in your DUI trial. However, he or she will also use formal discovery to obtain more information through the prosecution. This may not always be the best option, because doing so encourages the prosecution to spend more time preparing information to use against you in court, and will pique their interest in gathering more information as well. The more information your lawyer seeks from them, the more attention you’ll receive.

 

The following list contains items that can be sought after in a DUI breath case; however, rarely are all obtained for any one case. Your Redlands DUI attorney will decide which items are necessary and most important for your particular case.

 

  • Your attorney may obtain a copy of the manual for the machine used to test you, as well as titration records for the simulator solution and accuracy-check records.
  • He or she will also investigate logs of machine usage during a period of a few months before and after you were tested with the machine.
  • Sometimes lawyers will ask for a copy of the laboratory’s current license and investigate the laboratory’s state approved methods for testing.
  • Lastly, your Redlands DUI attorney may ask for information regarding the arresting officer’s training for use of the machine. If the officer transferred from another office, it’s possible that he or she doesn’t properly know how to use the model in question.

 

To learn more about breath testing and how it may impact your DUI case, contact Redlands DUI attorney Scott Stotz at (888) 214-9153.

Your Initial Interview With Your San Bernardino / Redlands DUI Attorney

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence iin the Inland Empire region, you might not think you need the services of a San Bernardino or Redlands DUI attorney. However, you might be underestimating the help a DUI attorney can be to your case. When you first contact an attorney, you will need to have an initial interview. There, your attorney attorney will: ask you what happened before, during, and after your arrest; tell you about the charges you are facing and the potential penalties, as well as the likelihood of winning an acquittal at trial; and begin outlining possible defense strategies to use. An experienced San Bernardino and Redlands DUI attorney like Scott Stotz knows that this arrest might be your first encounter with the criminal justice system, and he will try to make you feel more comfortable and prepared.

Usually, your attorney will ask you to tell the entire story of what happened in chronological order, beginning with several hours before your arrest, up to your arrest, and through your eventual release from police custody. There are many facts that could be relevant to your case, such as whether you ate any food or drank anything else prior to your arrest, what type of alcoholic drinks you had and how many, and over what period of time you had them. Your attorney will probably ask you about many such details that might seem irrelevant at first, but which could be used to establish a defense. Therefore, try to answer all questions as honestly as thoroughly as you can.

Your San Bernardino / Redlands DUI attorney will also ask for a history of all of your prior contact with law enforcement personnel. This includes motor vehicle convictions and violations and any other criminal convictions. You might wonder what the relevance of that information is. One reason is that your attorney will check and confirm the information to see if you are being truthful. Additionally, any prior convictions will have an effect on plea negotiations, if the prosecution decides to offer a plea bargain at all. Also, prior DUI convictions might be especially crucial to look into, because prior convictions sometimes act as the basis for a mandatory jail sentence if you are convicted of DUI again.

If you have further questions about your DUI arrest, contact experienced San Bernardino and Redlands DUI attorney Scott Stotz today.

Redlands DUI Attorney Explains Pretext Stops

Many people erroneously think that if a police officer pulls over a motorist for an improper motivation, such as because he suspects the driver is carrying drugs, the stop is inherently unlawful and will be dismissed. As a Redlands DUI attorney can explain to you, this is not true. As long as the officer has an objectively reasonable basis for pulling a driver over, such as witnessing a traffic violation, it does not matter what the officer’s real motivation was. The exception is if the officer’s pretext involves equal protection issues.

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What Are Commonly Cited Reasons for Stops?

There are a virtually infinite number of reasons an officer might give as the basis for a stop, but some are more common than others when it comes to DUI cases. A Redlands DUI attorney will know what these are and how to combat them in court, as well as how courts in your jurisdiction are likely to rule regarding it.

One commonly cited reason for a stop is weaving within the lane. Many courts hold that an officer observing a driver weaving within the lane over a substantial distance has reasonable cause to pull over a vehicle on suspicion of DUI. However, some courts have found that this is not sufficient, or that the officer must observe the driver touch or cross the lane a certain number of times to have reasonable suspicion. The judgment will vary by state and even by individual court.

For more information about pretext stops and how your DUI charges might be fought in court, contact Redlands DUI attorney Scott Stotz at 888-214-9153.

Pretext Stop

Law enforcement officers can legally stop a driver for an equipment violation. However, the legality of an officer to be able to pull over a driver on the suspicion of an equipment failure as an excuse to stop the driver for another reason, such as a DUI, depends on the jurisdiction. If you were arrested for a DUI based on such a pretext stop, you need to hire a Redlands DUI attorney to determine whether your DUI arrest was legal.

Different Court, Different Conclusion

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Different courts have come to different conclusions in determining the constitutionality of a pretext stop in a DUI case. The question often becomes one of reasonableness. In other words, a Redlands DUI attorney will need to ask whether the stop was reasonable by an objective standard or whether the basis for the stop should have only been based upon what the officer reported.

In some cases, courts have found that a police officer’s good faith mistake in understanding the law could render the stop unconstitutional. On the other hand, in other jurisdictions, a police officer’s good faith mistake does not render the arrest invalid.

We Can Help

There are numerous traffic laws and even more reasons why police officers can pull you over. This fact, along with all the variations in applying the law makes it crucial for you to hire a Redlands DUI attorney to help you fight your DUI charges.

To schedule a complimentary consultation with Redlands DUI attorney Scott Stotz, call (888) 214-9153.

Ways Your DUI Attorney Can Fight Your Case

Your Redlands DUI defense attorney will try to question the legality of your arrest, the reliability of your BAC (blood alcohol content) test reading and the accuracy of all witness accounts of the events leading up to your arrest.

Arrest Information Needed

• Did the officer have probable cause to stop your vehicle?
• If you made any incriminating statements, can they be suppressed?
• Can the field sobriety tests results be suppressed?
• Were you read your Miranda rights? When?
• Did the officer properly observe you for at least 15 minutes before your breathalyzer test?
• Was the officer properly trained to run the breath test?
• Were implied consent warnings clearly read and explained to you?
• Did the officer actually witness you driving before pulling you over?
• Has the breathalyzer test machine been regularly recalibrated for accuracy?

Are There Any General Mistakes that Can Help Get the DUI Charges Dropped?

Your Redlands DUI attorney will check on a number of facts, including whether or not you were read your Miranda rights at the proper time and if the breath test results were accurate and run on a machine that had been recently recalibrated.

What Can I Do to Help My Case?

Take your lawyer’s advice and immediately sign up for a highly regarded drunk-driving school and community service work. Finally, provide your attorney with accurate contact information for all of the witnesses who saw your arrest or witnessed the events leading up to it. If you were arrested for DUI in the Redlands or San Bernardino area, call Scott Stotz for a free evaluation of your case.

The Police Officer’s Observations May Help Your DUI Defense

If you are arrested for DUI, the police officer will probably filled out an Alcohol Influence Report form to comment about your appearance, behavior, and any statements you made to the officer. Your Redlands DUI lawyer will analyze the report and may use it to help your defense.

For example, any inconsistencies in the report can help your defense. Thus, if your blood alcohol content (BAC) result is high, but the officer reported that you looked pretty normal, your attorney can use this inconsistency to make the BAC appear suspect.

In addition, your Redlands DUI attorney will determine whether the officer was able to videotape your stop and arrest. If the officer could have videotaped it but failed to do so, it may be possible to dismiss the DUI charge. On the other hand, if the officer did videotape the arrest, and the videotape supports your case, the videotape would be persuasive in negating any adverse remarks in the Alcohol Influence Report.

If the arrest was videotaped but the prosecutor claims he is unable to find the videotape, this can help you, too. The United States Supreme Court has held that a defendant must prove that the prosecution acted in bad faith if evidence that may help the defense is destroyed. However, even if the prosecutor did not act in bad faith, a skilled Redlands DUI attorney might argue that the videotape would have helped your defense if the prosecutor had kept it.

If you’ve been arrested for DUI, do not hesitate to call experienced Redlands DUI lawyer Scott Stotz today for a free initial consultation.

Attacking Field Sobriety Testing

In a previous posting, I spoke to the importance of not helping the prosecution make its case by answering incriminating questions or volunteering to participate in any kind of Field Sobriety Testing, (FST).  However, the simple reality is that by the time you get around to reading my posting, many of you have already answered those questions and completed the FSTs.    Don’t be too hard on yourself.  All too often, the officers’ request sounds like a command, and besides, many of us simply believe that cooperation with law enforcement is a civic duty.  As a former reserve police officer, I can honestly tell you that every officer counts on that nearly universal level of cooperation when undertaking any kind of criminal investigation.  So, now that testing is done, what do we do about it?

An experienced DUI attorney in Redlands or surrounding regions will tell you that FSTs can be effectively challenged just like any other piece of evidence.  In fact, the “results” of these tests are really nothing more than the subjective evaluation of one individual, the arrestee, by another individual, the officer, who has nothing to gain by pointing out your successes or his shortcomings!

Having no baseline or prior knowledge of the arrestee is just one effective defense that can be raised.   If the officer does not know how you would have performed on the FSTs without the consumption of alcohol, a claim cannot be validly made that poor performance was due to the consumption of alcohol.  Case in point: I am a moderately obese male in my early fifties.  While completely sober and under the careful direction by my veteran police officer brother, I could not complete the one-legged stand for the time required to “pass.”  I just couldn’t do it!

Environmental conditions, including temperature, and the slope of the testing area is another valid defense to FST results.  Standing on foot or walking heel-to-toe can be hard enough for some individuals, doing so on an uneven surface makes it even more challenging!  Indeed, the kind of footwear, or lack thereof, when performing the tests can also be a contributing factor to any perceived shortcoming!

Delivering instructions that are all too often explained and demonstrated once is another defense to FST results.    The truth of the matter is most of us are nervous and anxious during a traffic stop and being given detailed directions rapidly, at night, in an unfamiliar setting, and knowing that our “failure” will probably lead to an arrest only tends to make it harder to concentrate and focus on the task at hand.  As a former reserve police officer, I can personally recall directions that were hastily given by police officers who simply wanted to get the tests done as quickly as possible so that they could get back into their warm or air conditioned patrol cars.

And finally, there are many innocuous reasons for not doing well on the FST.  Fatigue, stress, are pre-existing medical conditions are just a few factors that may explain away less than perfect performance on an FST.  A qualified DUI attorney in Redlands will raise these and other applicable defenses to the charge of operating a motor vehicle while impaired.

In closing let me reiterate my point at the top of this posting: If stopped, simply refuse to participate in any testing or incriminating line of questioning.   However, if you’ve already completed the tests, seek out counsel with practical experience defending against these charges.  The cost of representing yourself, both financially and personally, are simply too steep to go it alone!

Scott T. Stotz
DUI Attorney Redlands

Field Sobriety Testing (Just Say No, Politely)

One of the best kept secrets in the world of DUI is the belief that the driver suspected of DUI must comply with a police officer’s request, too often expressed as a command, to perform field sobriety testing (FST).  The simple truth is, there is no obligation or duty to comply!  Law enforcement personnel unlucky enough to be pulled over and actually put through the process know enough to just say no.  They offer no resistance, no backtalk, no disrespect…they just say no, and so should you! As a Redlands DUI attorney who once worked as a police officer in Rialto, I understand the ins and outs of your rights when you’ve been pulled over for a DUI.

Performing an FST simply provides the officer with additional evidence, evidence based only on his or her observations, and not wholly objective I might add, that the driver was impaired while operating the motor vehicle.   They will characterize their observations in their report and further testify to what they observed if or when they are called to the stand.  And for the record, police officers often make excellent witnesses.  In the law, we call that adding another brick in the wall.   By the way, the portable PAS device is another example of an FST; you don’t need to take that test either!

So, what should you do? First, politely comply with all requests for drivers license, registration, proof of insurance, and the like.  Police work is an important and difficult job and law enforcement deserves our respect.  However, do not volunteer information about where you have been, like the local bar or coming home from a ball game.  Don’t answer questions about how much you have been drinking.   Simply decline to answer any questions or perform any FSTs.  Let the officer make his or her determination solely on their observations.  Give them no additional evidence.   When you are arrested, you will be required to take a chemical test, either a breath test or a blood draw.  Failure to comply, unlike the FSTs, will have serious and immediate consequences on your driving privileges. Contact a Redlands DUI attorney like me for more advice.

In closing, if you are thinking that when you get pulled over you can talk or walk or stand or blow your way out of a trip to jail, let me give you some sobering news (no pun intended), if you are stopped you are more than likely going to jail anyway!  Based on my anecdotal experiences, most officers have already made up their mind as soon as they light you up, answering their questions and taking the FSTs just makes it easier for the State to make their case against you!  So remember, just say no (politely)!

Scott T. Stotz
Redlands DUI Attorney