After the DUl Defense Group lessons the value of the Driving Symptoms, Samudrala Law will usually turn its attention to minimizing Physical Symptoms as significant factors in the case.
An arresting officer’s description of a defendant’s initial appearance and behavior can be tremendously destructive to a defendant’s case. Samudrala Law‘s general Strategy to Beat Physical Symptoms is to provide reasonable explanations for the seemingly damning physical symptoms. The effectiveness of suggesting reasonable explanations not involving drinking alcohol is dramatically increased by initially establishing that the officer is guilty of unfairly interpreting everything the defendant did as a sign that he/she is drunk without even considering exculpatory possibilities. NOTE: This area of police evidence has the most room to develop the officer’s preconceived notions and prejudices against the defendant.
Below are how these strategies are used to attack those classic physical symptoms found next to the boxes in the mass-printed reports that the arresting officer will be checking off to prove that the suspect was drunk:
- Strategies to Beat a Disheveled Appearance
- Strategies to Beat Clumsy Behavior
- Strategies to Beat the Odor of Alcohol on Breath
- Strategies to Beat a Flushed Face
- Strategies to Beat Bloodshot, Watery, Bleary, and/or Glassy Eyes
- Strategies to Beat Thick and/or Slurred Speech
STRATEGIES TO BEAT A DISHEVELED APPEARANCE
Disheveled Appearance – rumpled clothing, uncombed hair, unshaven face Samudrala Law will emphasize that an individual who has a disheveled appearance, contrary to police opinions, is not necessarily intoxicated. Explanations for this include: took a nap in these clothes, have been in the car for a few hours, put on clothes that we’re in the bottom of my suitcase, etc.
STRATEGIES TO BEAT CLUMSY BEHAVIOR
Clumsy Behavior – staggered when stepped from the car, fumbled with wallet while looking for driver’s license.
Samudrala Law will emphasize that it is perfectly normal for someone who is singled out and pulled over by the police with bright flashing lights and loud shrieking sirens to be nervous, frightened, and apprehensive. As a result of being involved a high-stress situation, the defendant understandably could have staggered when stepped from the car or fumble with his/her wallet while looking for driver’s license.
Some other reasons for staggering when stepping from the car include the driver
- stepping out onto an unexpected quality and/or angle of the road
- having been sitting in the car for an hour or more
- wearing high heels on uneven pavement
- disturbed by the wind waves of passing cars
- startled by unexpected weather conditions like wind and/or rain
The DUI Defense will often attempt to demonstrate points by pointing our similar experiences even in everyday life. Members of the jury may have found themselves stumbling after a long movie, or a big dinner, or even a long day in the jury box.
STRATEGIES TO BEAT THE ODOR OF ALCOHOL ON BREATH
Odor of Alcohol on Breath is the one physical symptom that will always be encountered in the DUI / DWI / Drunk Driving case. The jury has a tougher time dismissing this physical symptom.
2 effective strategies exist to beat the odor of alcohol on breath:
QUESTION THE SOURCE OF THE ODOR. – This strategy revolves around the tact that alcohol has little or no odor. The arresting officer actually does not smell the odor of alcohol on the driver’s breath but instead smells the odor of the drink’s flavoring on the driver’s breath. Beer and wine leaves the strongest odor of alcohol on an individual’s breath but are the least intoxicating of all alcoholic beverages. In fact, a single can of beer usually leaves a stronger odor than 3 or 4 martinis. The arresting officer will be forced to admit this to the jury; consequently, the arresting officer cannot realistically use the odor of alcohol on breath to estimate how much alcohol an individual has consumed in addition to when the alcohol was consumed, and what the alcohol was that was consumed.
QUESTION THE CONCLUSION OF INTOXICATION. – This strategy acknowledges that alcohol was indeed the source of odor on the driver’s breath but that it was not intoxicating. The source of odor on the driver’s breath may have been the result of one of many commercial drugstore products, such as mouthwash, cough syrup, or sore throat spray that all contain ethyl alcohol and are specifically designed to stay in the throat area for extended periods of time. Following the directed dosages, the driver will not end up intoxicated, Illnesses, bad breath, and belching can also lead an officer to believe that he/she smells the odor of alcohol on a driver’s breath.
STRATEGIES TO BEAT A FLUSHED FACE
Samudrala Law will emphasize that there are numerous reasons for a flushed face that have nothing to do with an individual consuming alcohol. The client might have naturally rosy cheeks, just worked out, or had the heater blasted on high. Samudrala Law will focus on the fact that the arresting officer has probably never seen the defendant prior to the arrest so he/she had no basis for comparison. Another powerful explanation for a flushed face is that the high-stress situation of traffic stop triggered an adrenaline rush that would result in a flushed driver’s face.
STRATEGIES TO BEAT BLOODSHOT, WATERY, BLEARY, AND/OR GLASSY EYES
The DUI / DWl Defense Group will emphasize that there are numerous reasons for bloodshot, watery, bleary, and/or glassy eyes that have nothing to do with an individual consuming alcohol The most common and obvious cause for the client’s eyes being bloodshot, watery, bleary and/or glassy is fatigue. Another cause of the symptom is “eye strain” from excessive reading like poring over reports or computer screens at work. Still yet another cause of this symptom is air pollution and allergies.
STRATEGIES TO BEAT THICK AND/OR SLURRED SPEECH
The DUI/ DWl Defense Group will emphasize that there are numerous reasons for thick and/or slurred speech that have nothing to do with an individual consuming alcohol. First of all, the DUI / DWl Defense group will consider the client’s normal speech pattern and whether a juror might typify it as slurred if he/she heard it. Like that with a flushed face, the arresting officer had nothing with which to compare the speech at the scene of the arrest.
The high-stress and emotional situation of being pulled over may have affected the defendant’s speech and made it difficult for the driver to express him/herself. The arresting officer would probably see this as a form of impaired speech.
A final strategy involves leading the officer into portraying the defendant’s speech as being so slurred when they were pulled over that he/she could not even understand the driver. If this was the case, the arresting officer will be asked how then he/she was able to understand enough answers to fill out booking reports with detailed information like phone numbers, social security numbers, etc. This strategy contributes to discrediting the rest of the arresting officer’s testimony in the eyes of the jury.