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Common Louisiana DUI Field Sobriety Test – Walk &Turn Test

The walk-and-turn (“W&T”) test is commonly used by law enforcement, after someone suspected of violating the Louisiana DUI statute or “driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs,” is pulled over. While undergoing the W&T test, the suspect is directed to take nine heel-to-toe steps in a straight line, turn on one foot, and return by taking another nine heel-to-toe steps in the opposite direction. A standard W&T test is administered:

  1. On a designated straight line;
  2. On a dry, hard, level, and non-slippery surface, with sufficient length for completing 9 steps;
  3. By an “initial” stage where the officer gives the suspect verbal instructions to: (1) place his left foot on a line; (2) then place his right foot on the line in front of his left foot; (3) place his arms at his sides; (4) maintain that position until instructions are complete; and (5) confirm whether he/she understands the instructions.
  4. Ending with a “walking” stage, where the officer gives the suspect verbal instructions to: (1) take nine heel-to-toe steps, turn, and take nine heel-to-toe steps back; (2) keep his front foot on the line, and turn by taking small steps; (3) keep his arms to the side; (4) count the steps out loud; and (5) walk until competition of the test.

W&T tests usually offer experienced Louisiana DUI defense lawyers an opportunity to challenge the results of the tests, due to:

  • Procedural errors committed by the police officer while administering the test;
  • Age, weight, and/or physical ailments creating difficulty performing the W&T test;
  • Weather; and
  • Footwear of the suspect affecting his/her ability to walk straight or maintain balance.

A Louisiana DUI can have other serious consequences, so if you’ve been arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated, contact a skilled Baton Rouge DWI/DUI lawyer at the Russell Law Firm. The Russell Law Firm represents clients in DWI cases throughout the State of Louisiana, including the parishes of East Baton Rouge Parish, West Baton Rouge Parish, Plaquemines Parish, Livingston Parish, Ascension Parish, Jefferson Parish, Orleans Parish, St. Charles Parish, Terrebonne Parish, Assumption Parish, Lafayette Parish, Lafourche Parish, Lafayette Parish, St. Landry Parish, Evangeline Parish; and the cities of Baton Rouge, Livingston, Denham Springs, Walker, Gonzales, Donaldsonville, Port Allen, Brusly, Addis, Lafayette, Napoleonville, Kenner, Harvey, Marrero, Estelle, Gretna, Metairie, New Orleans, Terrytown, Westwego, Ville Platte, Eunice, Opelousas, Thibodaux, Houma, Belle Chasse, and Hahnville.

DWI Lawyers at the Russell Law Firm, LLC are skilled, experienced, and knowledgeable about the Louisiana DWI laws, related non-DWI statutes, and how to evaluate evidence that law enforcement and prosecutors might try to use against you. If you or someone you know is facing a potential DWI conviction, contact a DWI attorney at the Russell Law Firm at 225-307-0088. We offer free, no obligation initial consultations.

Information furnished herein is only general and not a substitute for personalized legal advice.

****The photograph above is not a depiction of any actual event or scene, but merely a dramatization.

By: Danny D. Russell, Esq.

 

8 Most Common Field Sobriety Tests

When an officer pulls someone over suspecting the driver to be under the influence of alcohol, the officer usually has the suspect perform one or more of the 8 most common field sobriety tests. Essentially, the tests are a series of roadside physical exercises, testing for signs of physical impairment known to be caused by alcohol intoxication, such as the inability to perform certain mental and physical multitasking exercises. If the individual performs poorly, the officer uses it as a way to establish probable cause for a DWI arrest.

The 8 Most Common Field Sobriety Tests Include:

  1. Horizontal gaze nystagmus;
  2. Walk-and-turn;
  3. One-leg stand;
  4. Modified-position-of-attention (Romberg test);
  5. Finger-to-nose;
  6. Recite the alphabet;
  7. Touch each finger of hand to thumb counting with each touch; and
  8. Count backwards from a number.

Many law enforcement agencies continue to use all of those field sobriety tests. During the next month, we will be going into detail about all of the 8 most common field sobriety tests.

DWIs can have other serious consequences, so if you’ve been arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated, contact a skilled Baton Rouge DWI lawyer at the Russell Law Firm. The Russell Law Firm represents clients in DWI cases throughout the State of Louisiana, including the parishes of East Baton Rouge Parish, West Baton Rouge Parish, Plaquemines Parish, Livingston Parish, Ascension Parish, Jefferson Parish, Orleans Parish, St. Charles Parish, Terrebonne Parish, Assumption Parish, Lafayette Parish, Lafourche Parish, Lafayette Parish, St. Landry Parish, Evangeline Parish; and the cities of Baton Rouge, Livingston, Denham Springs, Walker, Gonzales, Donaldsonville, Port Allen, Brusly, Addis, Lafayette, Napoleonville, Kenner, Harvey, Marrero, Estelle, Gretna, Metairie, New Orleans, Terrytown, Westwego, Ville Platte, Eunice, Opelousas, Thibodaux, Houma, Belle Chasse, and Hahnville.

DWI Lawyers at the Russell Law Firm, LLC are skilled, experienced, and knowledgeable about the Louisiana DWI laws, related non-DWI statutes, and how to evaluate evidence that law enforcement and prosecutors might try to use against you. If you or someone you know is facing a potential DWI conviction, contact a DWI attorney at the Russell Law Firm at 225-307-0088. We offer free, no obligation initial consultations.

Information furnished herein is only general and not a substitute for personalized legal advice.

****The photograph above is not a depiction of any actual event or scene, but merely a dramatization.

By: Danny D. Russell, Esq.

 

 

Louisiana DWI Conviction: What Prosecutors Must Prove

Under the Louisiana DWI statute, to obtain a DWI conviction against you, the prosecutor must prove both:

  1. Operation – You were exercising influence, control, or manipulation on a motor vehicle, aircraft, watercraft, vessel, or other means of conveyance.
  2. Intoxication – You were under the influence of alcoholic beverages and/or other drugs; or your blood alcohol concentration was 0.08 percent or more.

I.) Operation

“Operating” under the DWI statute refers to exercising some “influence, control, or manipulation” over the motor vehicle, which includes: driving, steering, backing, or any physical handling of the controls to put the vehicle in motion. That doesn’t mean the vehicle’s engine had to be running or that the vehicle had to be moving. As long as it is proven that you had any “influence or control” over the vehicle (e.g. keys in the ignition), you were “operating” the vehicle for purposes of a DWI conviction.

The following are common questions considered by courts when determining if the “operation” element is met:

  • Whether the keys were in the ignition?
  • Whether any part of the vehicle was turned on (g. engine, headlights, heater/air conditioner, etc.)?
  • Whether the vehicle was moving or parked?
  • Whether the defendant was trying to move the vehicle?
  • Whether the defendant was alert or awake (conscious)?

II.) Intoxication

Many people use “drunk driving” to refer to DWI. However, being “drunk” is not necessary to be considered “intoxicated” under the law. If your blood alcohol concentration (“BAC”) level is 0.08% or more, you are presumed intoxicated under the DWI statute. For some people, .08% BAC means only 3 beers, which might not equate to a person being “drunk,” but it does equate to being “intoxicated” for DWI conviction purposes.

Furthermore, intoxication is not limited to being under the influence of alcoholic beverages. It also includes drugs, such as illegal controlled substances (e.g. marijuana) and certain legally prescribed drugs and over-the-counter medications.

When it comes to proving intoxication for a DWI conviction, prosecutors usually present the following evidence:

  • Police officer statements.
  • Defendant statements and/or admissions of guilt.
  • Results from field sobriety tests, chemical breath test, blood test, and/or urine test.
  • Evidence seized from the defendant’s vehicle or person, such as drugs or alcohol.
  • Video footage depicting the defendant’s poor driving, slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, confusion, imbalance, etc.

For information related to penalties associated with a DWI conviction, read our previous article, “Louisiana DUI Laws and Penalties.” DWIs can have other serious consequences, so if you’ve been arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated, contact a skilled DWI/DUI defense attorney at the Russell Law Firm.

The DWI lawyers at the Russell Law Firm represents clients in DWI cases throughout the State of Louisiana, including the parishes of East Baton Rouge Parish, West Baton Rouge Parish, Plaquemines Parish, Livingston Parish, Ascension Parish, Jefferson Parish, Orleans Parish, St. Charles Parish, Terrebonne Parish, Assumption Parish, Lafayette Parish, Lafourche Parish, Lafayette Parish, St. Landry Parish, Evangeline Parish; and the cities of Baton Rouge, Livingston, Denham Springs, Walker, Gonzales, Donaldsonville, Port Allen, Brusly, Addis, Lafayette, Napoleonville, Kenner, Harvey, Marrero, Estelle, Gretna, Metairie, New Orleans, Terrytown, Westwego, Ville Platte, Eunice, Opelousas, Thibodaux, Houma, Belle Chasse, and Hahnville.

Baton Rouge DWI lawyers at the Russell Law Firm, LLC are skilled, experienced, and knowledgeable about the Louisiana DWI laws, related non-DWI statutes, and how to evaluate evidence that law enforcement and prosecutors might try to use against you. If you or someone you know is facing a potential DWI conviction, contact a DWI lawyer at the Russell Law Firm at 225-307-0088. We offer free, no obligation initial consultations.

Information furnished herein is only general and not a substitute for personalized legal advice.

****The photograph above is not a depiction of any actual event or scene, but merely a dramatization.

By: Danny D. Russell, Esq.

What an Officer Must Tell You Before a DWI Chemical Test

As mentioned in our previous article, “Breathalyzer Refusals – Potential License Suspensions,” by merely driving on a Louisiana highway in Baton Rouge or elsewhere, you consent to Louisiana laws for testing blood-alcohol content (urine, blood, breath, etc.). However, when requesting an individual to submit to a DWI chemical test, the law enforcement officer must first inform him/her of the following information:

  1. His constitutional rights under Miranda v. Arizona.
  2. That his driving privileges can be suspended for refusing to submit to the chemical test.
  3. That his driving privileges can be suspended if he submits to the chemical test and such test results show a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or above or, if he is under the age of twenty-one years, a blood alcohol level of 0.02 percent or above.
  4. That his driving privileges can be suspended if he submits to the chemical test and the test results show a positive reading indicating the presence of any controlled dangerous substance listed in R.S. 40:964.
  5. The name and employing agency of all law enforcement officers involved in the stop, detention, investigation, or arrest of the person.
  6. That refusal to submit to a chemical test after an arrest for an offense of driving while intoxicated if he has refused to submit to such test on two previous and separate occasions of any previous such violation is a crime under the provisions of R.S. 14:98.2 and the penalties for such crime are the same as the penalties for first conviction of driving while intoxicated.

That information must be read by the law enforcement officer from a from approved by the Department of Public Safety and Corrections prior to the DWI chemical test, and he must request that the individual to sign the form. If he/she is unable or unwilling to sign, the officer must advise that the individual was provided with the information above prior the the DWI chemical test and that he/she was unable or refused to sign.

DWIs can have other serious consequences, so if you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence, contact a skilled DWI attorney at the Russell Law Firm.

Russell Law Firm represents clients in DWI/DUI cases throughout the State of Louisiana, including the parishes of East Baton Rouge Parish, West Baton Rouge Parish, Plaquemines Parish, Livingston Parish, Ascension Parish, Jefferson Parish, Orleans Parish, St. Charles Parish, Terrebonne Parish, Assumption Parish, Lafayette Parish, Lafourche Parish, Lafayette Parish, St. Landry Parish, Evangeline Parish; and the cities of Baton Rouge, Livingston, Denham Springs, Walker, Gonzales, Donaldsonville, Port Allen, Brusly, Addis, Lafayette, Napoleonville, Kenner, Harvey, Marrero, Estelle, Gretna, Metairie, New Orleans, Terrytown, Westwego, Ville Platte, Eunice, Opelousas, Thibodaux, Houma, Belle Chasse, and Hahnville.

Baton Rouge DWI lawyer Danny Russell is skilled, experienced, and knowledgeable about the Louisiana DWI/DUI statutes concerning DWI chemical tests, related non-DWI statutes, and how to evaluate evidence from DWI chemical tests. If you or someone you know has been arrested for a DWI, call the Russell Law Firm at 225-307-0088. We offer free, no obligation initial consultations.

The Russell Law Firm will handle all matters pertaining to your charge in an effective, efficient manner. We take care of paperwork and manage deadlines so that you never have to worry about the status of your case.

Information furnished herein is only general and not a substitute for personalized legal advice.

By: Danny D. Russell, Esq.

****The photograph above is not a depiction of any actual event or scene, but merely a dramatization.

Breathalyzer Refusals – Potential License Suspensions

The State of Louisiana has strict DWI laws. By merely driving on a Louisiana highway, you consent to Louisiana laws for testing blood-alcohol content (“BAC”). Under Louisiana’s Implied Consent law, if you are lawfully arrested by an officer who has probable cause to believe that you have been driving or boating while intoxicated, and you refuse to comply with his or her request to use a breathalyzer test, then you can face an automatic license suspension imposed by the Department of Motor Vehicles. Potential suspensions for refusal are as follows:

  1. First Refusal – 1 year from the date of suspension.
  2. Second & Subsequent Refusal2 years from the date of suspension.

DWIs can have other serious consequences, so if you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence, contact a skilled DWI defense attorney at the Russell Law Firm.

The Russell Law Firm represents clients in DWI/DUI cases throughout the State of Louisiana, including the parishes of East Baton Rouge Parish, West Baton Rouge Parish, Plaquemines Parish, Livingston Parish, Ascension Parish, Jefferson Parish, Orleans Parish, St. Charles Parish, Terrebonne Parish, Assumption Parish, Lafayette Parish, Lafourche Parish, Lafayette Parish, St. Landry Parish, Evangeline Parish; and the cities of Baton Rouge, Livingston, Denham Springs, Walker, Gonzales, Donaldsonville, Port Allen, Brusly, Addis, Lafayette, Napoleonville, Kenner, Harvey, Marrero, Estelle, Gretna, Metairie, New Orleans, Terrytown, Westwego, Ville Platte, Eunice, Opelousas, Thibodaux, Houma, Belle Chasse, and Hahnville.

Baton Rouge DWI lawyer Danny Russell is skilled, experienced, and knowledgeable about the Louisiana DWI/DUI statutes, related non-DWI statutes, and how to evaluate evidence that law enforcement and prosecutors might try to use against you. If you or someone you know has been arrested for a DWI, call the Russell Law Firm at 225-307-0088. We offer free, no obligation initial consultations.

Our DWI lawyers will handle all matters pertaining to your charge in an effective, efficient manner. We take care of paperwork and manage deadlines so that you never have to worry about the status of your case.

Information furnished herein is only general and not a substitute for personalized legal advice.
****The photograph above is not a depiction of any actual event or scene, but merely a dramatization.
By: Danny D. Russell, Esq.