DUI Roadside Exercises
What are DUI roadsides?
The first drunk driving arrest recorded was in London in 1897. A taxi driver named George Smith crashed his taxi cab into a building and was found to be intoxicated. Called "driving under the influence" (DUI) or "driving while intoxicated" (DWI) in most states, there are about 1 million drivers arrested for DUI/DWI in the U.S. each year.
1897 Stanley Steamer
Since Colorado DUI laws and every state allows driving after drinking, at least for adults, police officers cannot just arrest any driver they stop who has alcohol odor on their breath. Officers have to engage in some level of investigation to decide which drinking drivers they think may have become impaired from the drinking. For several decades, officers across the country used many different random tasks in order to form opinions about who was ok to drive and who was going to be arrested for DUI. None of it was scientific, and many of the tasks used by officers were unfair to drivers. Some sobriety tasks were ridiculous.
This DUI spoof from Reno 911 shows the dangers of officers making up their own sobriety tests.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
In the mid 1970s NHTSA initiated efforts to improve the use of DUI roadside tests in the country and make them more standardized (consistent) and more sensitive to the effects of alcohol. What is important for Colorado DUI defense lawyers to learn from this first DUI study published by NHTSA, is that police roadsides came from POLICE. The field sobriety tests were not designed by doctors nor by toxicologists nor by any other scientist- they came from 1960s and 70s cops. Prior to the 1980s, it was not common for police officers to have any education beyond high school or even just a GED. Today's roadside sobriety tests used in Colorado criminal courts came from these minimally educated officers of 45-50 years ago.
Jim Medley's Advanced Training in DUI Sobriety Tests
Jim Medley was first trained in NHTSA DUI roadside tests as a police officer in 1993. His initial training was provided by Texas A&M University Criminal Justice Academy. For almost 30 years now, Jim has studied, used, and evaluated the NHTSA curriculum for police DUI arrest procedures. As a naive police officer, he believed the roadside exercises were scientific, but decades of experience and advanced education in forensic standards have empowered him to stand up against this junk science in court for over 20 years as a nationally recognized DUI defense attorney.
In 2004, Jim completed an advanced course in the instruction of the NHTSA DUI roadside exercises. He spent a week training at the University of North Florida Institute of Police Technology and Management and was certified as a DWI Investigation Instructor. By this time in his legal training to become a DUI defense expert, Jim could already see many of the flaws and deception in this curriculum. Jim remains current on the Colorado police DUI training curriculum.
Realizing that the materials police publish to indoctrinate officers into fake DUI science did not lead to reliable scientific results, Jim completed a course in Alcohol Pharmacology at the University of Connecticut School of Nursing in 2004. At this point, Jim began to surpass the forensic education that almost any other DUI defense lawyers and any police officers ever achieve.
In 2005 Jim Medley completed a Graduate Certificate in Forensic Toxicology at the University of Florida. In this program, Jim learned more about applying alcohol toxicology science to defend DUI sobriety tests. Jim also began learning about drug and medication toxicology and how those medical and scientific facts could aid in defending DUIs involving marijuana, medication, and other drugs.
In 2006 Jim Medley became possibly the first DUI defense lawyer in the country to earn a Master of Science degree in Forensic Toxicology. This science degree qualified Attorney Medley to not only fight for his own clients, but also to testify as an expert witness in drug and alcohol pharmacology for other DUI lawyers who needed truthful science to help their clients in court.
FAKE SCIENCE ALERT
The DUI eye test they call "HGN" can be the most dangerous testimony at a DUI trial. It's the one test that jurors can't see ifor themselves on video, and officers can testify they saw it when they really didn't. Even worse, Colorado DUI law allows officers to say this test shows "impairment," when the scientific studies do not justify that statement.
In 2007 Attorney Jim Medley attended an advanced class in defending drivers from the HGN eye test that is part of the DUI roadside exercises. This class was taught by two Ph.D. scientists, one of the instructors was a professor of Optometry at the University of Houston. No other DUI lawyers in Colorado have completed this advanced medical study of ocular behavior resulting from alcohol, as it was only offered in Texas over 15 years ago.
In 2008 Attorney Jim Medley attended more advanced training taught by a forensic specialist Ph.D. in reviewing research that has been conducted for the past 50 years regarding sobriety testing and the police DUI HGN test that is performed on every driver arrested for DUI.
In 2008 Jim Medley almost completed another Master of Science degree (30 graduate hours) in Kinesiology from the University of Texas. Jim understood that roadside DUI balance exercises are police
attempts to judge impairment based on body
movements. Kinesiology is the scientific study of
human body movement. Jim wanted a
comprehensive expertise in the science of assessing
balance, coordination, and stability in order to be a
qualified Colorado DUI defense attorney.