A Champaign Illinois police sergeant was arrested for DUI The arrest occurred in nearby Piatt County (Monticello).
The DUI arrest was anything but routine. The cop was weaving across the Interstate so badly that other drivers called the police.
The driver had slurred speech and an odor of alcohol. Thereafter, he was administered a series of Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST)
The first of the three tests administered would have been the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN). The examiner administers the test by waving a pencil or other object at different angles across the subject’s face.
He watches for certain movements in the accused’s eyes. He “scores” the test by assessing how well, in his opinion, the subject performs against expected norms. As you can see, the test may not be as reliable or scientific as police claim.
First of all, the test is scored by a person who already suspects the subject is intoxicated. Otherwise, the officer would not be asking the accused to perform the test.
Furthermore, the accused is being measured against a hypothetical “normal” person. This fails to take into account inherent physical differences from one person to the next, differences that do not necessarily translate into proof of intoxication.
If you flip a coin ten times and tails comes up seven times, that does not prove the flip was invalid. It just proves that averages merely represent the expected outcome. Variances in results do not prove that something is amiss.
The second test that the defendant would have performed was the walk-and-turn (WAT). It is just like what it sounds: you walk nine steps, turn around and walk nine steps back from where you came. The officer “scores” your performance.
But you are not just walking. You are walking “heel-to-toe”. You are walking on an imaginary line. You are required to walk with your arms and hands in a certain position, as well as your eyes and head.
As you take each step, you must count aloud. And you are supposed to turn in a specific manner. Not a military turn but “small steps” in the proper direction. And if you begin your steps in either direction on the wrong foot or begin before the cop says “go”, points are taken off.