DWI: ‘Auditioning’ for Your Freedom: Combating The Use of Field Sobriety Exercises in The DUI Prosec

In making their arrest determination, police officers believe that a drunk driving suspect should be able to perform physical sobriety exercises under stressful settings on the side of the road. Robert Reiff notes that injuries and medical conditions may impair the ability to perform field sobriety exercises. He also recommends that defense lawyers petition the court to enter an order in limine (1) to preclude the prosecution’s witnesses from referring to the field sobriety exercises as “tests,” and (2) to prevent officers from testifying as to their ultimate opinion that a DWI defendant was “impaired.” Such testimony invades the jury’s province with misleading, unscientific information that appears to be scientific.