Saturday, March 2, 2013

Using the NYS Trooper STOP of a Car to Defend a New York DWI

New York State Troopers have great hats and uniforms

The New York State police are great psychologists. Why the badge, the uniform, and the big hat? Because you can argue with a person (a human), you are not going to argue with a Trooper. They have to be masters at the psychology of control and manipulation because their jobs and lives depend upon figuring people out and taking command.

They must quickly assess, control, and take charge of situations. Sometimes these situations may involve people strung out on drugs and alcohol. Sometimes they are dealing with people who are fighting, arguing, yelling, and/or in the throes of craziness.

Trooper Take Down 101, from flicker.dwightsghost

The most dangerous thing a trooper will ever do is pull over (STOP) a car. Safety is paramount, because they just don't know so many things. They don't know if the person in the car is wanted, is dangerous, is high, is armed, and most importantly is going to try to hurt them. All that uncertainty leads them to approach these car stops with a lot of caution.

Once they notice a violation (equipment/moving) they will turn on their "take down" lights. Perhaps they will also use their siren. Once the car pulls over it is literally bathed in light. This for officer safety.

All the details of the STOP of the car can be used to help defend a DWI case.

A motorist's "Mental and Physical" ability is displayed not just on field sobriety tests but at every moment of their encounter and investigation with a State Trooper.

1. The trooper will first note your ability to respond to his lights in their report.

Did you slow to a stop and respond quickly to his lights? Did you pull safely to the right? Did you use your blinkers (turn signal)? Did you pull to a safe location? Did you park parallel to the pavement?
Did you strike or hit the curb? Did you place the car in park? Did you turn off the car?

2. The trooper is going to be able to see inside the car completely. They will be looking at all of your physical movements inside the car. 

Did you turn off the car? Did you remove your seatbelt? Were you able to open the glove box and take out a registration/insurance? Were you able to retrieve your license from your wallet? Did you put down the window?

Did you fumble? Did you struggle to open the glove box? Did you fail or forget to get your license out of your wallet? Did you give them a credit card and not a license?

Alcohol affects physical coordination and fine motor movements. People who are impaired or intoxicated have difficulty with even simple tasks.

3. Every trooper command, direction, and instruction is a mini-test.

Did you follow the instructions? Did you appear to understand all his/her directions? Were your responses to these commands appropriate?

Did you stare at them blankly after they asked you a question? Were you slow to respond to their commands?

Alcohol affects mental function and cognition. People who are under the influence may not be alert and aware of their surroundings. They may be slow or lack the ability to follow even simple directions.

4. Your exit of the car will be observed closely.

Did you trip, stumble, or fall? Did you use the car's door frame to balance? Did you need to hold on to the car after your exit? Did you remember to take off your seat belt before exiting?

All of this occurs prior to the giving of any FSTs (Field Sobriety Tests). That is why THE STOP of the car must be scrutinized. The defense of a DWI case must look at ALL aspects of your contact with law enforcement not just the ones that they (the police) may selectively highlight.

Lawrence (Larry) Newman, D.C., J.D.

Doctor of Chiropractic
Attorney and Counselor at Law

Ithaca, NY