The arresting officers testimony regarding general observations made of the defendant can often be anticipated. References are usually made to the defendant's appearance and demeanor, for example. These have become so commonplace that some criminal defense attorneys suspect that many such references are included by rote, the officer may feel the need to supplement his or her actual observations in order to ensure a finding of probable cause. the following observation are those most often included within police arrest reports:
1. Flushed face: in many cases, the police officer will note that he or she observed the defendant faced to be flushed. Such an observation is of no value by itself, but assumes significance when asserted with other facts. Any officer will acknowledge that there are many reasons why a suspect face might appear flushed, absent the consumption of alcohol. Most would also agree that some people have a ruddy complexion which might be indistinguishable from a flushed face. What is of great interest is that, in thousands of cases known to this author, no police officers ever been able to explain the relationship between a flushed face and the consumption of an alcoholic beverage.
2.Bloodshot eyes: in most cases, the defendant will be described as having had bloodshot eyes, seemingly an indicator of intoxication. One need not be an ophthalmologist to know that there are many reasons why eyes may be bloodshot other than the consumption of alcohol. In almost every instance, the arresting officer has had no prior contact with the defendant, defense counsel should note that the officer has no basis for comparison.
Leaning: in many cases, the police officer will complain that the defendant was observed to have been leaning against the automobile. This reference is made to suggest that the defendant was incapable of standing without support. Because it is quite common for the standing and talking in the immediate vicinity of their cars to lean against them as a matter of comfort, however, proper cross-examination on this point may render it impotent.
Slurred speech: without a basis for comparison it is virtually impossible for a police officer to attribute slurred speech to an alcoholic beverage, rather than organic problem. Many times, different dialects or unfamiliar accidents may also be mistaken for speech that is slurred. Contact a Paulding County criminal defense lawyer today.