Field sobriety tests are intended to be tools used by law enforcement to investigate whether a driver may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These tests were created with research supported from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These tests are nowhere near 100% accurate, and are commonly “failed” for medical or environmental reasons, as well as because of police officer errors. However, for one man in Utah, the officer completely fabricated test results when video footage showed no field sobriety test was even performed.
In 2013, Gavin Gabor, or Layton, Utah, was pulled over in his red Dodge Neon. Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Neil Green told the young driver that he was stopped for making a lane change without signalling. After some questioning, Trooper Green placed Gabor under arrest for driving while being impaired by drugs, and took him to jail. Later, Gabor got a copy of the police report which indicated he failed a field sobriety test, something Gabor knew never happened.
Taking on his own defense, Gabor purchased a copy of the dash camera recording from his arrest, he saw the video evidence was in his favor. The dash cam footage showed no evidence of any field sobriety testing. During his administrative license suspension hearing, Gabor confronted Green about the alleged test. Green stated he had Gabor do the walk and turn and one leg stand tests. Gabor responded he didn't do those tests, to which Green responded, “I'm not sure why you don't recall that.”
However, Gabor still lost his license for six months because the ALS hearing officer never looked at the video evidence. It was only after Gabor got an attorney to represent him to appeal his case that it was dismissed. Faced with the evidence of a made-up field sobriety test, and a trooper lying before an ALS hearing, the state's highway patrol began an internal investigation into Green's DUI arrests. Green called the false police report entry, an honest mistake, and that he must have made a clerical error.
Field sobriety test results can often be challenged in court, especially when the defendant is represented by an experienced DUI defense attorney. For Gavin Gabor, his defense was pretty clear once he obtained video footage of his 2013 DUI arrest. Still, the legal system can be complicated and difficult for the average citizen to negotiate. In Gabor's case, despite being exculpated by the video evidence, the trooper's “simple and honest mistake,” cost Gabor more than $1,000 in fees from license reinstatement, title release, and impound fees.
If you submitted to a field sobriety test, or the police officer said you failed the tests, you may have a valid legal defense to get your case dismissed. Just because you were arrested for a DUI does not mean you have to be convicted. At the Gorelick Law Offices, attorney Lynn Gorelick has dedicated her legal career to defending people facing DUI charges in the East Bay. With more than 30 years of DUI and criminal defense experience, Lynn Gorelick will conduct an in-depth investigation, including obtaining all video and audio evidence. If you are facing a DUI, contact the local East Bay DUI defense attorney who understands how to get your DUI charges reduced or dismissed.