There are many ways to defend a DUI case. We will examine whether a police officer’s opinion, that the driver was ‘incapable of safe driving’ is a rational, unbiased opinion. This article will discuss the ‘subjective’ opinion of the police officer
When the police officer has pulled you over, especially late at night, he or she is already suspicious for DUI behavior. This police officer senses will be heightened and will be looking for evidence of alcohol consumption. This “tunnel vision” is called “confirmation bias.” Confirmation bias is the human limitation that results in the mind’s desire or tendency to seek evidence that confirms its preferred explanation. This preconceived notion that the driver is under the influence of alcohol manifests itself in a lack of openness to the universe of possibilities. Furthermore, this ‘close minded’ police officer seeks to do an investigation that ‘cherry picks’ facts and interprests them consistent with the preconceived notion.
For example, the odor of alcoholic beverage on a person’s breath, does not indicate how much alcohol a person has drank, but only when the person drank the last alcoholic beverage. Think of mouthwash. Does a strong odor of mouthwash indicate a person used a lot of mouthwash? Or is it a better indicator that this person just recently brushed their teeth? Nevertheless, a police officer will frequently state that a particular driver had a “strong odor of alcoholic beverage” as an indicator that a person has drank a lot of alcohol. Furthermore, the opinion itself “a strong odor of alcoholic beverage” is a subjective opinion as there is no way to confirm or deny not only the odor of alcoholic beverage, but also whether that odor was “strong.”
Furthermore, the police officer both administers the field sobriety test as well as judges that test. A police officer must accurately relay the information to an individual as to what (and when) acts are to be performed, as well as use his or her opinion as to what acts constitute a “clue.” While a police officer can count how many times a person’s foot touches the ground in a one-legged stand test, how does one determine whether a person “swayed?” or “raised their arms?” The police officer is looking for alcohol consumption.
If you are looking to defend a DUI case, hire the best DUI defense attorney. Whether you are charged with DUI in Centre County, Blair County, Mifflin County, Clearfield County, Clinton County or Huntingdon County, “confirmation bias” affects all police officers.