Field Sobriety Test Performance Case
State v. S.C.
Blood / Alcohol Content (BAC):
Validity of field sobriety tests / requested attorney for breath test
Matthew B. Nichols
Operating Under the Influence (OUI, DUI, DWI)
364 days in jail, 90 days license suspension and $2,000 fine (minimum 7days in jail and $600 fine)
Client was pulled over for marginal erratic operation on Casco Bay Bridge (large bridge spanning Casco Bay from South Portland to Portland). The date of incident was February 11, 2003 and client was required to perform the standardized field sobriety tests near the apex of the bridge on a cold and windy night. Attorney Nichols convinced the jury, that under the circumstances, client performed the field sobriety tests extremely well, and on cross examination, had the officer agree that the erratic operation was very slight and that the performance of the field sobriety tests under these conditions would be very difficult for anyone to satisfactorily complete under any circumstances.
On cross examination the officer also candidly conceded that client initially did not refuse to submit to a chemical test, however client requested that he be allowed to speak to an attorney to assist him in making a decision of whether or not to submit to a chemical test, specifically a breath test. The officer correctly pointed out that Maine law does not require the officer to allow the arrestee to consult with an attorney to decide to whether or not to submit to a chemical test. Attorney Nichols was able to convince the jury that, although not required to allow him to contact an attorney, the police officer had the discretion to allow for such a consultation. The officer simply chose not to allow client the “luxury” of a brief phone call.