May We Have Your Divided Attention?
It may seem odd, but the ability to divide your attention and do two things at once—multi-tasking—is thought to be a skill used in driving. Notably, a person’s ability to perform a task while his or her attention is divided is expected to decrease with alcohol use. As a result, your Orange County DUI lawyer will confirm that some field sobriety tests are geared towards assessing divided attention skills. These are sometimes the first tests used as a type of pre-test before other field sobriety tests are given.
Some examples of divided attention tests and techniques include:
- Asking the driver for two things at once; for instance, driver’s license and vehicle registration.
- Asking unusual questions, then interrupting with additional questions or distractions.
- Administering a test of two tasks at once such as a walk-and-turn test. This requires the subject to perform a challenging task while being given some other instructions.
- A variation of the double-task test might be to ask the subject to count while touching the thumb to each fingertip.
- The driver may also be asked to stand on one leg while counting aloud.
At the same time, the pre-test interrogation gives the officer the opportunity to detect possible signs of intoxication such as slurred speech, the smell of alcohol, or cognitive impairment from drinking.
You must also keep in mind that drivers are typically questioned before any field tests are given. They might be asked the date and time; whether they know the reason they were stopped; or they might be asked about physical impairments. For a Orange County DUI lawyer, their main goal in a case may be to determine whether the tests their clients received were doable. For example, does the person have a physical impairment such as bad balance or bad knees that might prevent a one-leg stand regardless of their level of sobriety?
It is very important to understand the limitations of the various interrogation and testing techniques that police officers use in DUI cases. That is just one area of expertise of an Orange County DUI lawyer. For more information about sobriety tests, what they mean, and their reliability call Coffey & Coffey at (800) 706-7888 today.