DUI Defense Attorney in Mobile, Alabama
A DUI/DWI (Driving Under the Influence) conviction will have a serious, negative impact upon your life. It will affect your freedom to drive, your insurance rates, and your ability to find employment. For these reasons, you should hire an experienced DUI defense lawyer. Even if you think your case is hopeless, call The Law Office of Ginger Poynter 24 hours a day, seven days a week at (251)445-8313 to speak with a knowledgeable DUI/DWI (driving under the influence) lawyer at no cost or obligation.
Initial Intake and Actions
During your first meeting at our office in Mobile, Alabama, we will conduct a detailed interview as to the circumstances of the drunk driving arrest and any prior convictions you may have. We will also need to address the automatic suspension of your license, as you have only 10 days from the date of the arrest to request an administrative hearing.
At The Law Office of Ginger Poynter, we focus on the field sobriety tests, and determine whether you have any physical impairments or medical limitations that could have had an impact on your performance. We routinely employ field sobriety test instructors to testify as expert witnesses at trial regarding deficiencies in the instruction and testing phases of the field sobriety tests.
Field Sobriety Testing
A police officer needs “reasonable suspicion” to stop a motorist. Reasonable suspicion is a low standard that is easily met if the officer can articulate some objectively reasonable grounds for the stop, such as speeding, an equipment violation or crossing the center line. If, after stopping the vehicle, the officer suspects that the driver may be under the influence, the police officer must have probable cause to make an arrest. The officer should then conduct a field sobriety test and then, and only then, a portable breath test to determine whether he has probable cause to arrest. There are three field sobriety tests that are approved by the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences:
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) — The officer asks the subject to keep his head still and follow an object with his eyes. The officer is looking for nystagmus, an involuntary jerking of the eyes that takes place when the object begins to move out of the subject’s field of view. In Alabama, an officer is not permitted to testify in court about his HGN observations, as this test is not viewed by the court as scientifically reliable.
- Walk and Turn — The subject is asked to stand on a line with one foot in front of the other. The officer is watching to see if the subject can maintain that position while the subject is given additional instructions. The subject is then instructed to take nine steps down the line, touching heel to toe, and nine steps back, with his hands kept at his side. The officer is watching for the subject to miss heel to toe, raise arms for balance, step off the line, etc.
- One Legged Stand — The subject is asked to lift either leg off the ground approximately six inches with his hands at his side and count aloud “one-one thousand, two-one thousand,” and so on until told to stop. The officer is looking for the subject to stop counting before (30) thirty seconds, raise arms, lose balance, etc.
- Alcosensors — Some law enforcement officers in Alabama are equipped with a device known as an Alcosensor. After completion of the field sobriety tests, the officer will ask the subject to blow into the device to determine a numeric blood alcohol content. Alcosensor results are not admissible in court, as they are not considered scientifically reliable.
If an officer deviates in any way from the tests or the instructions given above, he or she has given the subject an argument that probable cause to arrest did not exist and created reasonable doubt. You need an experienced, aggressive DUI lawyer to defend your rights.