helps people win back their lives
DUI Roadside Investigations
As part of their attempt to gain a conviction in your Michigan DUI case a prosecutor will have two theories available too present to the jury at trial. These first theory is the "per se" theory of DUI. In Michigan this is also called the UBAL (Unlawful Bodily Alcohol Level) theory. The UBAL DUI theory is based exclusively on the chemical test. A Michigan DUI arrest can also be based on the alternative theory of OUIL (Operating Under the Influence of Liquor). This theory is typically based primarily on the roadside investigation. This means that the "reliability" of the observations made by the police officer are of paramount importance in determining the issue of guilt or innocence. If yours is a DUI drugs case, then similar theories are available to the prosecutor.Conduct of the Roadside Investigation – DUI Law Enforcement Training
Most of Michigan's police officers have received training on, and become participants in, the National Highway Safety Administration's Standardized Field Sobriety Test Program. This training classically takes place over three days, and includes learning about the three phases of a DUI investigation. These include:
Phase One : Vehicle in Motion – Just as with the other two phases phase one consists of two parts. The first part consists of watching you drive your case. The decision of phase one is “do I stop the vehicle?” If yes, then part two consists of watching how your respond to the stop signal. Being ordered to stop your car by a police officer requires you to be able to divide your attention and may give the officer clues as to your level of intoxication. These observations will be recorded in the police officer’s narrative report and will be utilized in court when the officer is trained to give clear and convincing evidence of your impairment.
Phase Two : Personal Contact – now that the vehicle is stopped, this phase begins with the officer approaching your care for the face-to-face observation. Here the decision point is “do I ask the driver to step from the car?” If the decision is “yes” then the officer will further observe your exit from the vehicle as well as your ability to walk toward the rear of the vehicle for further evaluation. The officers are trained to engage all their senses. For example, what does the officer smell the odor of alcohol or cover up odors, what does the officer see relative to the driver’s eyes, face and clothing, are the eye bloodshot, is the face flush, etc., and what does the officer hear, including manner of speech, answers given.
Phase Three: Pre-Arrest Screening: This includes the administration of the three standardized field sobriety tests, which are the one-leg stand, the walk-and-turn, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN). Here the decision point is “do I arrest the driver.” These field tasks are usually followed up by roadside breath or saliva testing, after which the arrest occurs.
The field sobriety tests are to be administered according to the standardized protocol, and a failure to do so significantly compromises their evidentiary value. Case law and statutory law in Michigan suggests that the police officer must administer them in “substantial compliance” with their training. A failure on the part of the police officer can result in the field sobriety tasks being suppressed or kept out of trial.
For more information on this topic, see Mr. Barone's article " Do Field Sobriety Tests Reliably Predict Intoxication ?"