In other posts I’ve written about the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. Well the field sobriety tests are the only things that have become “standardized” in drunk driving or OVI investigations. It is all too common for officers to repeat the same litany of “clues” in their written drunk driving reports.
For example, the most commonly repeated phrase that I’ve come across is “the suspect has a strong odor an alcoholic beverage on the breath/person, bloodshot and glassy eyes, slurred speech, admitted to drinking, and unsteady on feet.” This phrase has been repeated by officers over and over, in case after case.
Officers repeat these same old words for several reasons. One reason is that officers are taught to look for these “clues” when they’re conducting a drunk driving investigation. Officers also know that these are the things that people commonly associate with inebriation, so when they put it the report or testify to it at trial, these are things that people expect to see in a drunk driving case.
The problem is that judges and jurors want to believe that police officers tell the truth when they write their reports and testify at trial. In many cases, the OVI case comes down to the testimony of the officer and the defendant. A good way to discredit the officer is to show the jury that this officer writes the same thing over and over in nearly every case they investigate, and the only way to do that is to get copies of other reports written by that officer in cases around the same time period that the officer arrested the defendant. It’s the defense attorney’s job to look for these “standardized” police reports when they’re preparing their case for trial.
If you have been charged with DUI and wish to get your questions answered by an experienced Columbus DUI Lawyer, call our offices at (614) 454-5010 for a free consultation.