Folks welcome to another edition of my blog. Today’s topic of discussion concerns police training and the type of experience, training and education I would expect a police officer to have? In all likelihood, the officer will have graduated from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy and will have attended the police training course. While there are a number of courses that officers are required to complete, the most important ones and the ones most applicable to your case will likely be the OUI Detection & Standardized Field Sobriety Testing course.
In addition, I would expect the officer to have obtained his certification for operating the Intoxilyzer 5000EN (breath test) and perhaps a Drug Recognition Evaluator course. A DRE or Drug Recognition Evaluator course is an important component of the officer’s training where drugs and driving are involved. In Maine, operating under the influence of drugs is defined operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of any substance, legal or illegal, that impairs the mental and/or physical faculties of the operator to any degree.
Getting back to the Standardized Field Sobriety Testing course This course deals with the administration of the following sobriety tests: the one-leg-stand, the walk-and-turn, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus, as well as some of the other alternative but non-standardized tests that may be administered such as the alphabet test, the counting backward test, and the finger touching test.
An interesting issue concerns the criteria upon which officers are graded on when tested at this course. They are not tested on their ability to properly determine if you have passed or failed the field sobriety tests. Rather, they are tested on their ability to properly administer those tests in the standardized fashion. Therefore, while objective criteria are employed for administering the test, if the officer is unable to correctly interpret the test results, it will likely result in a skewed analysis of your impairment level. The officer’s evaluation of your sobriety is very subjective.
These are just some of the things that your OUI/DUI/DWI defense attorney should be looking at to determine if the officer is qualified to administer the SFSTs as those qualifications may or may not affect the outcome of your case. I hope you find this information helpful and if you have questions or concerns about your particular case, feel free to call my office. I look forward to hearing from you soon. Thank you.
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