It never ceases to amaze me. Before I even hear the arresting officer's testimony in a California DUI trial, I can almost predict verbatim what he/she's going to say…
“The defendant had red/watery eyes, slurred speech, and the odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from his breath. He fumbled his driver's license, had an unsteady gait, and failed to perform his FSTs as demonstrated.”
It's as if every California driving under the influence case involves the same suspect, the same officer, and the same facts. But we know that's not the case.
Officers are trained to look for what are known as the “objective signs and symptoms of alcohol impairment” and are also trained on how to testify about those symptoms. In a California Vehicle Code 23152a DUI trial, this is the typical testimony.
As a Los Angeles DUI defense attorney, I not only expect that this seemingly devastating testimony will be delivered to the jury, I actually look forward to it. As they say, there's no substitute for preparation.
When I know what's coming, it's much easier to expose inconsistencies, biased testimony, and, of course, the fact that an officer can't possibly remember your DUI which, in most circumstances, took place many, many arrests and months ago. (See our article, "Can a California DUI conviction be removed from my criminal record?")