I just finished a DUI trial where the police officer testified. When a police officer testifies in a driving under the influence (DUI) case, the police officer is trying to convince the judge that when he pulled your vehicle over that he did not think that you were drinking and driving. He wants the judge to think that he (the officer) approached the stop with an open mind and as more and more evidence was discovered he started to think that just maybe you were driving drunk.
For example, the police officer will initially say he stopped you because of speeding or weaving, etc. He will next claim that when he came to your car window to speak to you, that he detected a strong odor of alcohol beverage and noticed that your eyes were blood-shot and glassy. he will claim that he started a DUI investigation. He will testify that he asked you to perform the field sobriety testess and that he still did not think that you are under the influence, but that he was continuing his investigation.
The reason the officer does not say that he thought you were intoxicated is because he would then be required to arrest you and read a Miranda (you have the right to remain silent, etc.) warning to you.
Rather, the officer will say that he was still conducting his “investigation” to see if you were intoxicated. He wants to get as much evidence against you before he places you under arrest.
I recently asked an office the following:
Attorney Young: Officer, is it your testimony that you were still unsure if my client was driving under the influence as this point.
Officer: I was still conducing my investigation.
Attorney Young: So, when you saw my client’s vehicle weaving, that was a piece of evidence you took into account that my client might be intoxicated.
Attorney Young: Also, when you smelled alcohol coming from my client’s breath, that was another piece of evidence, correct.
Attorney Young: Officer you would agree with me that each piece of evidence lead you closer to the conclusion that my client was driving under the influence of alcohol.
Attorney Young: That each piece of evidence, the weaving, the smell of alcohol, the admission of drink, etc. all placed a brick in the road to your conclusion that my client was driving under the influence of alcohol.
Attorney Young: Officer, when my client exited his vehicle with having to use his door to support himself, did you take a brick out of the road to the conclusion that my client intoxicated?
Officer: what…I don’t understand.
Attorney Young: Office you previously testified that each piece of evidence lead you to think that my client was intoxicated, right?
Attorney Young: When my client had no difficulty walking or following your instructions, did you take that into account in your decision that my client was not intoxicated?
Officer: I don’t understand. I only considered things the defendant did wrong.
Thereafter, I stopped my questioning and the Judge found my client NOT GUILTY.