Driver Attention Testing
In a DUI stop, Chicago DUI Defense Lawyers know that the arresting officer will generally question you for a while before he asks you to submit to a field sobriety test. This period of questioning helps the officer get a sense of your possible level of inebriation and whether there might be other factors, like medical conditions, or fatigue, affecting your driving.
The interrogation period also helps the officer observe Objective Signs of Alcohol Intoxication, such as slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, or the smell of alcohol on your breath. This period also allows the officer to determine whether any conditions such as physical injury might rule out certain types of Field Sobriety tests or cause you to perform badly on them even if you’re not intoxicated.
The period of questioning you undergo generally involves Divided Attention Testing, where the officer has you “multi-task” so that your brain must perform more than one task simultaneously. Driving is a complex activity that involves Divided Attention: simultaneously drawing correct conclusions and making correct responses to multiple sensory inputs. The officer wants to ensure that you can perform these tasks in a Divided Attention setting.
Types of Divided Attention Testing
Your Chicago DUI Defense Attorney cautions that your Divided Attention questioning might involve:
- Asking your for two things at the same time, such as your license and registration.
- Asking unusual or distracting questions.
- Asking you what the date and the time are, and why you think you have been stopped.
- Interrupting you and breaking your concentration as you attempt to respond.
A Divided Attention Field Sobriety test might include:
- Asking you to walk and turn while you process compound instructions from the officer.
- Requesting you to stand on one leg while you count in thousands.
- Asking you to touch heel to toes while you walk in a straight line.
- Requesting that you count aloud and simultaneously touch your thumb to your fingertips.
Law enforcement realize that alcohol consumption generally leads to a decrease in your ability to accurately perform divided attention tasks. This is partly why drunken drivers frequently drive on the wrong side of the road, and fail to observe or respond to stop signs and lights. An officer’s justification for Divided Attention Testing is that it seeks to determine your ability to safely perform the complex task of driving, which involves multiple simultaneous stimuli.
The more alcohol a person consumed, and the more quickly he or she has consumed it, the more likely the individual is to suffer a poor performance on Divided Attention questioning or Field Sobriety Tests. But alcohol isn’t the only factor affecting your performance on a Divided Attention Test. Officers are supposed to look for and accurately account for these other factors, like injury or illness. But officers, like other people, are fallible and don’t always detect or elicit evidence of physical injury or other conditions that might negatively affect your performance on a Divided Attention Test. Don’t let a poorly conducted test lead to your unjust conviction on a DUI charge.
Contact Dedicated Chicago DUI Defense Attorney Michael P. Schmiege
Experienced Illinois DUI Lawyers know that many factors affect your ability to perform well on Divided Attention interrogations. These factors might include your physical condition, fatigue, stress, and even your natural nervousness at being stopped by a police officer. Michael Schmiege offers a free initial legal consultation to discuss your DUI charge with you and evaluate your case for your potential valid defenses.