Any officer ever believed?

Discussion in 'Cop Talk' started by Caver 60, Apr 14, 2012.

  1. Caver 60

    Caver 60

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  2. Hack

    Hack Crazy CO Gold Member

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    What's your point of this thread exactly? Of course, if an officer stops someone I would have to say there is usually a good reason, eh?
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2012

  3. Glock45Lover

    Glock45Lover

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  4. Patchman

    Patchman Florist

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    Sure, we're all responsible adults, right? So if someone tells me (even swears to me on their mother's grave) that they really, really only had two beers/drinks, why shouldn't I believe them?

    Oh, yeah, there's an old North Korean saying: "Trust. But verify."
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2012
  5. wrenrj1

    wrenrj1

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    That's why I always ask for receipts at the bar...:tongueout:
     
  6. Panzergrenadier1979

    Panzergrenadier1979 Keystone Cop

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    If the driver has gotten his compact sedan stuck in a field with 3 out of 4 tires blown and the wheels bent, has an open bottle of vodka in the cup holder, has urinated on himself, cannot stand-up without falling over, AND it's noon in the middle of the week.....then no. I don't believe him when he says he's only had "two" drinks. :cool:

    And yes.... I have seen a driver who admitted to comsuming two drinks, HOURS before being stopped and he blew zeros on the PBT. He did not display a single sign of impairment after the traffic stop; he was as stone sober as the officers doing the tests. He was just a really really bad driver.
     
  7. IrishSheepdog54

    IrishSheepdog54

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    I won't believe them until they pass the SFSTs. Then I'll still be skeptical.
     
  8. Ftttu

    Ftttu

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    When i'm told that, I hold my arms like I'm holding a barrel and ask them "barrel size?"
     
  9. Caver 60

    Caver 60

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    Lots of reasons to stop someone besides erratic driving.

    Stopped for one light out on the vehicle, DUI checkpoint, etc. No other signs of impaired driving. Blows OK (lets say .03 or .04) but fails SFST.

    From all I've read on the internet about the Field Sobriety Test, I don't think I could pass it stone cold sober. Especially at night with LE vehicle lights blinking and traffic going by, etc.

    The one who said ask for receipts has a good idea.

    Personally I never drink and drive with more than two in me, and then it's with a leisurely meal that will last at least one hour. If I want a fast meal, I go to a fast food place.

    I've never had a DUI, but there is always a concern.
     
  10. DaBigBR

    DaBigBR No Infidels!

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    So before I get on my soapbox: I'm a self-admitted drunk hunter. I've been a police officer since August or 2003 and have made north of 600 drunken (or drug impaired) driving arrests. I've administered the tests well over 1,000 times, and maybe closer to 3,000 (I really have no idea). I'm a field sobriety testing instructor and as part of that I've participated in several "wet labs" where volunteers are dosed with alcohol and subjected to the tests by new officers. I'm passionate about this stuff.

    This might be a bit disjointed as there's a lot of ground to cover, but here goes:

    The Standardized Field Sobriety Testing battery (horizontal gaze nystagmus, walk and turn, and one leg stand) is a scientifically validated, systematic, and objective approach to determining impairment. The tests were originally validated by use of lab, lab/field, and field studies, with the tests "going gold" circa 1977. The tests were originally validated at the 0.10% BAC standard using officers who were not experienced in the tests (they had just been standardized, after all). The final field validation indicated reliability of 77% for HGN alone, 68% for WAT alone, and 65% for OLS alone. HGN and WAT were combined (no idea why the whole battery wasn't) for a reliability of 80%.

    The tests have been re-validated several times through lab and field studies, with field studies out of Florida, Colorado, and California being the three most commonly cited. Those studies used officers experienced in the tests and two of them validated SFST for the 0.08% BAC standard. Depending on which study you look at, they established reliability at 91%, 93%, and 95%.

    There is so much misinformation out there about this stuff that it makes my head spin. A couple of things to think about:

    -The "per se" limit (0.08% BAC in all states) is not a legal limit, it's an illegal limit. If your BAC is at or above that level, you are presumed to be impaired. I would venture a guess that every state has an "illegal per se" statute. That means it does not matter what your level of impairment is...having a prohibited blood alcohol content is illegal in and of itself.

    -Every person handles alcohol differently and the levels of impairment may vary wildly between people with the same BAC. There are people out there who are relatively functional at high alcohol concentrations, and people who are significantly impaired at lower alcohol concentrations, including below 0.08% BAC. The mere fact that a person's BAC might be "okay" doesn't mean that they are not under the influence. I would also venture a guess that every state has an "under the influence" statute as well.

    This leads to the debate about why police use field sobriety tests AND chemical (breath/blood/urine) tests. There are a couple of things to point out there:

    -My state, and likely most others, require some amount of evidence to permit an officer to request a chemical test. Field sobriety testing (detection phase III), in combination with observed driving behavior (detection phase I) and personal contact with the driver (detection phase II) are what provides that evidence. The trained officer uses the totality of the circumstances to make decisions. These can be "for" or "against" the driver. I'll throw in there that refusing to cooperate outright will probably not help one's cause, and in some states is a quick ticket to a forced blood draw.

    -People do not just drive while under the influence of alcohol. They drive while under the influence of illegal drugs, prescription drugs, and an assortment of other things that may or not may be legal (K2, spice, etc). Field sobriety testing, in combination with chemical testing will help tell the officer whether they have a person under the influence of alcohol or something else (or both).

    Chemically speaking, one "drink" should put the "average" person in the 0.10% to 0.020% BAC range +/-. The body "should" metabolize at about 0.015% BAC per hour, so we would assume that one drink an hour is probably relatively safe. Now when I say drink, I mean a twelve ounce beer, a four ounce glass of wine, or a one ounce shot of something in the 80 proof range. If you've had two drinks and they happen to be Long Island Iced Teas, or you've split a BOTTLE of wine with somebody, all bets are off. If you're taking antidepressants, anxiolitics, muscle relaxers, pain killers, etc with alcohol, I don't care what your BAC is, you're probably in the wrong.

    In doing wet labs, one of the things that has always struck me is the difference between a volunteer drinker and a drunk driver. The volunteer is drinking an absolutely known amount of alcohol and their BAC is tested regularly. These people are generally surprised at how drunk they feel even with a BAC of 0.05% or so. Contrast this with the drunk driver at a 0.10% BAC who feels "fine" and only had two drinks.

    I guess just to wrap it all up: if you think there's any doubt, just don't drive. Anybody that's been hooked for drunken driving and legitimately believed that they were "okay", drank well enough past the point of impaired judgment to a significant extent that they should have known better in the first place.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2012
  11. lopak

    lopak

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    If you are getting skepticism, it's because it gets heard again and again. With me, it's was usually, "I only had 3 beers!"

    I arrested many folks for DWI, and this was back in the blow .10 days. With most, the context was a traffic accident. And they often seemed to blow drunk on "three beers".
     
  12. razdog76

    razdog76 Heavy Mettle

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    Are there any drivers that actually believe that... or because of their impairment, and fear of potentially getting caught, can't think of anything else to say.:dunno:
     
  13. TBO

    TBO Why so serious? CLM

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  14. collim1

    collim1

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    Yes...I field test people all the time who dont show impairment and I send them on their way. Smelling alcohol is the first step. You complete my tests as I instruct them you drive away, I have you on camera not impaired. You cant do my test you go to jail, period. No calling a friend, no calling a cab, no getting set afoot.

    A lot of guys in my area dont trust the FST's and are not good DUI officers. The SFST's work...I have never had a low blow. You have to believe in the tests, and I do.
     
  15. collim1

    collim1

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    Good post. I work in a college town and have seen quite a few DUI deaths over the years. In my younger days I was a 30 DUI case a year officer. I have never lost a DUI in court.

    Now the university in my town has made a tremendous effort to reduce the number of DUI's. Free bus/shuttle/taxi rides all over town free for students.

    Now I make about 5 DUI cases a year. I guess it worked. Luckily I too was DUI junky and really studied the case law and had faith in the tests.

    Its hard to argue that reducing DUI's is a bad thing, but at one point my town had one of the highest DUI arrest rate per capita in the region. I learned alot and got alot of good experience in my early years.

    IMO the FST's rule out DUI more than they give PC. I am a big believer in HGN even though my court will not accept HGN testimony! HGN does not lie.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2012
  16. ScottieG59

    ScottieG59

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    I find it a bit amazing that there are roadside bars that people drive to and from. I live in a small town outside Kansas City. The area is rural and there are very many drunk drivers. When I bought my house, I chose one very unlikely to be reached by an out of control drunk driver. I also have a fenced play area behind the house. I do not like the kids to get anywhere near the road due to the unsafe drivers.

    Many employers have a high tolerance of those convicted of DUI. Often, people can hold onto their security clearances, but this is starting to change. A second DUI can end a career.

    Anyway, I wonder how many drunks do not get caught. Or when they lose their license, many seem to continue to drive until they get caught again. I am glad to see law enforcement out there and hopefully, more of these drunks will be taken off the road.


    Out there in fly-over country...
     
  17. clancy

    clancy Oh, for a muse of fire

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    Does anyone ever fail a SFST that has not had a drink, nor is under the influence of drugs? IF so, and you arrest them for being under the influence, and then when they take a breathalyzer or blood test that shows them to be sober, what happens then? Are they let go? Is their car still impounded?

    I am just curious.
     
  18. DaBigBR

    DaBigBR No Infidels!

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    You're simplifying a complex situation. First and foremost, there is usually some reason that the officer has deemed the administration of SFSTs necessary. Smell of alcohol is obviously a very common one. If there is absolutely NO reason to suspect that the person is impaired from the get-go, then why administer the tests at all?

    The horizontal gaze nystagmus test is particularly telling of alcohol impairment. It would be extremely unlikely that a person would exhibit a "failing" score on HGN and have no alcohol (or other drugs that cause HGN) on board. Naturally occurring nystagmus is extremely uncommon, and even less common amongst people who are physically capable of driving.

    So what happens in your scenario? Person is stopped, tested, arrested, and then tests at a 0.00% BAC/BrAC AND they have no drugs on board (because without that as a given, the first thing I'm going to do is call a drug recognition expert)? In my state, a person cannot be "un-arrested" by a peace officer, so they would need to be jailed or charged and released with a court date. There would likely be a subsequent request to the prosecutor that the charge be dropped.
     
  19. nikerret

    nikerret Mr. Awesome

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    This. Until I have a reason to doubt you, I am working to prove you right.

    I would guess this is due to the mental state at the beginning of the exercize/enconter.

    I have. Not many, but a few. Our CA will not charge a DUI without an 0.08 unless you have a collision, of some sort. Even then, it's unlikely.

    Hi. I have pretty bad nystagmus in one of my eyes; or so I'm told. Of course, this would not net a "failing" result, (three out of four clues, necessary). If I am very, very tired, I will start to get nystagmus in the other eye, but not to the extent of the nystagmus in the first eye. This is side effect of a surgery I had when I was two, on both of my eyes.
     
  20. nikerret

    nikerret Mr. Awesome

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    Yes, I have had people claim 1-3 drinks and been able to prove them correct.

    Moreso, I have had people claim 1-3 rinks, initially, but proven them to have lied. Most of the time, they will later admit to the other 6-15 drinks.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2012