I am greatly honored to have once again lectured the members of the Rhode Island Bar Association on the successful detection, prosecution and defense of drunk driving (DUI, DWI, OUI) cases. The March of 2011 DUI Continuing Legal Education Program is part of the DUI and Refusal Cases Beyond the Basics series of lectures and articles the Law Offices of Robert H. Humphrey is conducting for the Rhode Island Bar Association. This educational program provides an opportunity for both prosecutor and defense attorneys to learn about legal issues beyond the basics of these types of complicated DUI cases involving the admissibility of chemical test results, the admissibility of the standardized field sobriety tests, and the suspect's statutory and constitutional rights to a timely release on bail. Emphasis is given to teaching the advanced trial techniques and practice pointers for the successful prosecution and defense of DUI and Refusal cases.
In every drunk driving ("DUI" or " DWI") case the Prosecution and Defense are concerned with five (5) basic components of the case as follows:
- Can the Prosecution establish the requisite reasonable suspicion to stop the suspect's vehicle;
- Can the Prosecution prove the suspect's operation of the vehicle;
- Can the Prosecution demonstrate the necessary probable cause to arrest the suspect;
- Can the Prosecution prove that the suspect was under the influence of intoxicating liquor and/or drugs to a degree that rendered him/her incapable of safely operating the vehicle; and
- Can the Prosecution prove compliance with R.I.G.L. 31-27-3 (the suspect's right to an independent physical examination by a physician of his/her own choosing).
Please see my recently published article in the Rhode Island Bar Journal article entitled "Drunk Driving: Beyond the Basics."
Attorneys who attended the lecture received an in person demonstration of the standardized field sobriety tests by a local police officer and heard from the officer regarding his experience in handling DUI arrests. Attendees were provided with updates about recent DUI cases. In State v. Cote, a motorist refused to submit to the preliminary breath test (PBT) at the scene and then submitted to the chemical breathalyzer test at the police station. The Judge suppressed the breathalyzer results ruling that once the motorist had refused the initial test, she should not have been asked to take another test. In State v. Lemieux, the motorist was informed he would not be released until he had sufficient funds to pay the bail commissioner. The Judge suppressed the breathalyzer results in that case because the motorist was not able to be released from jail. His inability to be released was prejudicial because he could not exercise his right to an independent physical examination or his right to an independent chemical test. In State v. Scalisi, the Court addressed standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs) during a DUI trial. During the officer's testimony he admitted he deviated from the specific SFST instructions and that any deviations meant the results of the SFSTs were invalid. The Judge found the motorist not guilty. Jamestown v. White dealt with the issue of extra-territorial arrests. A motorist was arrested by a Jamestown police officer in North Kingstown. The Court dismissed the case finding that the police officer lacked jurisdiction to make an arrest outside of Jamestown.