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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
do you see officers in your department perform oui fst's differently because they were taught differently in the various academies ?? for example, the recital of the alphabet - some officers have the person simply recite it, others have them put their heels together, feet spread at a 45 degree angle, arms by their side, head tilted back, eyes closed and then recite it (divided attention ??), the 3'rd way i've seen it done is to ask the person to start at "D" and end at "T" or some other letter. I could of sworn that the MCJTC adopted Standardized Field Sobriety Tests in 1998 with the "head back, eyes closed" version being adopted - however, guys who have graduated the academy since 1998 say no -
should we do it the same statewide ? the NHTSA has their own FST version but that includes HGN , which is not accepted in court unless an expert is summonsed to explain it - we know that won't happen often in this state -.....
 

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I had to recite mine "A to g and N to Z, nothing inbetween"

Funny part, i was stone-cold-sober, i was only 20 at the time and i had NEVER touched alcahol before i was 21... so it was a memorable experience, my friends will never let me live it down....
 

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The current tests that are taught are the standardized field sobriety tests from NHTSA. The HGN is allowed if an expert testifies but that is not going to happen. The HGN counts for PC when making the arrest. I only use the three NHTSA tests as in the past I was torn apart for "making up my own tests" In my personal experience it does not matter how many tests you give the drunk. Without the BT you will not get a conviction. The DAs and the judges in this state don't give a shit about OUIs. It does not matter that drinking and driving kills more them 17,000 people in the Us a year. For all you anti Gun people thats 7,600 more deaths then what was commited with firearms in a year and approximately 2000 more then all murders. Makes you wounder were our priorities are.
 

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The three SFST'S are:

1. HGN
2. Nine step walk and turn
3. One Leg Stand

Alphabet is not a a sfst test
 

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There are actually four (4) Standardized Field Sobriety Tests now:

1) Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus(HGN)
2) Nine step walk and turn (WAT)
3) One Leg stand (OLS)
4) Portable breath test (PBT)

The PBT is recognized as an SFST, but many PDs don't have them yet.

In addition to the four listed, many officers throw a few of their own in. It is not a good idea to throw too many in, because the attorney will ask why you did so many tests. "If it took so many tests to determine if my client was drunk, they must not have been too bad..."
 

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I am an SFST Instructor and yes , I have seen some whacky FSTs out there from other officers, but for the most part the newer officers have it down pretty good. I noticed that some officers give the test ok but don't understand the clues and how many you need for each test.Like any skill if you don't use it, you lose it.
 

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Any luck getting the PBT into court? No luck here.
My PD doesn't have PBTs yet; therefore, the answer is no. As you know, courts toss half of our evidence anyhow. At least it is another tool to strengthen our pre-arrest observations. PBTs are especially useful for POs that don't feel comfortable banging out SFSTs on a regular basis and are great for protective custody issues.
 

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809 can back me up when i say "Some cops depend on the pbt" PBT is a great tool but I have seen people let someone go because they did not have a one with them and were not sure about the test's. I say if there is any doubt that they may be boarderline drunk "Hook um" There is zero liability in a making an OUI arrest it the only thing you can make a bad arrest on and not be sued over. (I like my house)
 

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This is my OUI format:
1 Observation of unlawful/impaired operation(weaving,speeding,etc.)
2 Observation of impairment(odor of alcoholic beverage,bloodshot eyes,slurred speach,flush face)
3 Observation of conduct while producing lic/reg(can't find lic,fumbling,etc.)
4 Ask suspect if they have consumed an alcoholic beverage. If yes, how many, if responds couple or few ask what does a few mean.
5 Request suspect to perform FST ask any medical/health issues that would affect balance/coordination. Also ask if suspect wears glasses/contacts.
6 Demonstrate FST
7 FST performance 1st HGN(note stimulus in report and number of clues observed out of a possible 6 and that 4 or more is considered a failure), 2nd Walk and turn(note line used, level surface, free of debris and no wind if true as well as number of clues observed out of a possble 8 and that 2 or more is considered a failure), 3rd One leg stand( note number of clue observed out of a possible 4 and or more is considered a failure)
8 Clink, tow and on to Intox 5000.
9 Write report quickly afterwards noting as many details as possible(helps a lot at trial months later)
 
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There is a "DA OUI Manual" that MA DA's use that is a great reference. It list the 3 NHTSA FST and what they consist of. It also descibes all the pre-trial prep and how to prosecute during trial.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
:roll: just as i suspected - there is no standardized fst in this state..... we use the alphabet, 1 leg stand and 9 step, heel to toe. we have no portable breath test devices and were under the impression they were not recognized in Massachusetts. As far as HGN goes, the courts in Plymouth County do not accept it unless an expert is summonsed to explain it - i have yet to see that happen -if the NHTS criteria is what is followed in Massachusetts, then only the one leg stand and heel to toe walk are the extent of our FST....... :roll: why aren't OUI FST's standardized in this state !!!????
no wonder the defense attorneys discredit us and win about 80% of the OUI cases...
 

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JJIMBO, where are you from?
MA. has three SFST which are recognized by the courts and tought by the MSP in the MCJTC Academies.

DRDREWPPY hows Ayer doing these days?
 

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Had one last night that will most likely get dropped, MSP had a cell caller report erratic operation 95 NB, vehicle described was observed exiting the highway and then pulled into a gas station. Approached the operator at the pumps and requested lic and reg, suspect became an alpha hotel and refused to cooperate at the scene. Based on the observations (unsteady on feet, slurred speech, blood shot glassy eyes and strong odor) I clinked him for the 90/24 No FST's done at the location of the stop.

Get to booking the guys is nice as pie to the LT. he asked the LT to let him take the FST's to prove he is not drunk (failed alphabet, nine step and one leg stand). Refused the BT.

What do you the the chances are that they will allow the FST's after the fact?
 
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