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Let’s try to be more careful

Today is July 4th, 2007. Happy Independence Day America!

I wanted to write an entry about the importance of significant weight loss and its impact on the breath machine but then I saw this video of 1989 playmate Jennifer Jackson being stopped for a recent DUI and wanted to make a more important observation for the safety and benefit of all.

If you watch the video you will see Ms. Jackson attempting to perform field sobriety tests on the shoulder line directly adjacent to oncoming traffic. You will also see this Ohio officer actually standing almost in the middle of the travel lane as he requests this young lady to perform these tests and incriminate herself. She appears to have difficulty balancing, now whether this is a personal issue, or is related to alcohol consumption or drug consumption (they found items in her car) we do not know, although the police will of course charge her with everything.

The thing that bothers me about this DUI arrest, is that the officer, in his zeal to effectuate this DUI stop has placed himself and the suspect directly in harm’s way. He does not seem to recognize nor care about that fact; however, I’m sure both his family and Ms. Jackson’s family would care a great deal if something bad happened. Notice in the video that Ms. Jackson falls to the side right into the traffic lane, the officer nearly has to catch her. The officer is standing nearly in the middle of the travel lane. Somebody is going to get killed and then it will be all Ms. Jackson’s fault because she was stopped for this alcohol offense.

Just recently there was an officer in Maryland who was tragically struck and killed as he attempted to stop a vehicle for speeding. Apparently he performed the dangerous maneuver of stepping out directly into traffic in order to direct the driver to pull over. The driver was in fact speeding but there was no alcohol involved. The driver could not or did not stop in time and struck the police officer. He later died of his injuries. They are now conducting an investigation into whether the procedure of stepping into the street in order to stop speeding cars is safe.

The purpose behind traffic law enforcement is to save lives, not risk lives. In both of the aforementioned cases, lives are being needlessly risked or lost. The majority of DUI stops take place at night when drivers can not necessarily see as well as during the day. If the arresting officer wants to stand in the middle of the street and if he wants you to perform field tests on the shoulder of the street with cars flying by, do everybody a favor and tell him no! Field tests should not be attempted in the first place because you only give the officer evidence to use against you, but if you are going to voluntarily attempt the test, make sure that you are in a position of safety, perhaps on the sidewalk and encourage the officer to get into a position of safety too. After all, what kind of notes can the officer take regarding your field sobriety tests if he has to constantly be concerned about oncoming traffic. Likewise, how can you perform these tests to your full capacity if you are worried about being struck by a car.

This way you can both enjoy your July 4th holiday.

Bruce Robinson Maryland DUI Defense Lawyer