Police officers are always right… wrong! At Hoffman and Associates, our law firm has successfully defended thousands of driving under the influence cases. One of our effective strategies is to attack and challenge the credibility of the officers observations, statements and conclusions being used against our clients.
You may be unlucky enough to have been stopped by the police for allegedly committing a vehicle code violation, but it is not necessarily true. The main thrust of an officer’s education at the Academy is how to build a case against suspected violators. Officers are taught from the beginning that they must always justify and build a case.
One of the major areas of challenging the officers observations is to point out to the prosecutor, judge or jury, that although the officer will testify from the witness stand, or by the statements in police reports, that his credibility must be established like any other witness, despite the fact that he is a police officer.
Prosecutors, like police officers, like to act like these observations are completely objective, and accurate without question. Nothing is further from the truth. An officers observations and conclusions are really nothing more than subjective. The difference is very significant. Clearly subjective opinions by all people, including police officers, must be considered by looking at their personal influence that could motivate anyone to color their opinion. These types of statements he are much more susceptible to error.
An example of these concepts is the fact that in defending thousands of drivers stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence, I have rarely ever seen an arrest report where the driver successfully passed all of these coordination or field sobriety tests. Since the officer has probably never met the suspected driver before the night of the arrest, she has no idea of that persons coordination or ability without any alcohol to compare his coordination at the time of his stop.
Considering the diversity in alleged DUI drivers performance on different field sobriety tests, why is there a common and universal type language, used in almost all police reports. Slurred speech, red watery bloodshot eyes is always present.
Showing the similarity of the officer’s statements in a majority of his arrest attack the accuracy of his observations and erodes the credibility of the officers testimony. It is essential that you or your legal counsel carefully scrutinize the accuracy of this critical evidence being presented against you.