Election Round Up

ballot-box

Here’s some of the notable election results from Tuesdays primaries.

 

Governor:

Democratic winner: JB Pritzker

Republican winner: Bruce Rauner

Pritzker is an establishment democrat and won this primary pretty easily strengthened by his billions of dollars that he has at his disposal to fund his campaign. Daniel Biss a more progressive candidate finished second in the race edging out the moderate Chris Kennedy who failed to do much notable in his campaign despite coming from one of the most famous families in America. I think Biss was a better candidate, especially if Democrats want to be a party for the people. There’s really not much in my mind that differentiates Pritzker and Bruce Rauner, and I don’t think that is good for the future of the democratic party. Pritzker should have a good shot at beating Rauner who has managed to piss everyone off it seems, despite winning Tuesdays primary. He edged out a far right candidate Jeanne Ives, who frankly is just awful. But Bruce has come under fire from the far right for at least being somewhat sensible and expanding abortion coverage for women on Medic aid. It was a very close race, clear signs of discontent surrounding Rauner. Just another thing about Ives, she is one of those people who will blabber all day about how the government doesn’t leave people alone enough while also advocating policies to control women’s bodies and discriminate against the LGTB+ community because she is a bigot. Seriously, go watch one of her commercials. They are horrifically insulting and I’m glad she lost.

 

Attorney General :

Democratic winner: Kwame Raoul

Republican winner: Erika Harold

The democratic race was more interesting in this one because it was closer and because former governor Pat Quinn decided to step back into the realm of Chicago politics, but ultimately failed to carry the day. Raoul, a lawyer, is a good progressive candidate who filled the state senate in 2004 when Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate. Since then he has been an advocate for a number of admirable causes such as criminal justice reform, domestic violence prevention, education reform and expansion of services. In his campaign he has advocated for making abortion safe and accessible along with the equal wages act. Raoul has gotten a lot of funding from gaming, gambling and tobacco interests and has been a frequent supporter of the gaming and gambling industries when voting so I do think that is a negative to watch out for. I like Raoul a good amount more than Pritzker, but both democratic candidates for these two races are being funded by huge conglomerates. On the Republican side, the lawyer/former US pageant contestant Erika Harold won the primary pretty easily with 59% of the vote. She was notable in the past for using the Pageant stage to advocate for abstinence until marriage, which unsurprisingly made her popular with Republican politicians and the Bush regime. One positive is that despite being against same sex adoption previously, her position is now for it. It’s not really something we should have to celebrate since being against systemic bigotry ideally should be the bare minimum of basic human decency, but in our current environment at least it’s something. Better than Ives.

U.S. House 3rd District:

Democratic winner: Daniel Lipinski

Republican winner: Arthur Jones(Nazi)

I don’t even know where to begin with this so lets begin with the fact that Arthur Jones the uncontested republican winner in this race, is a Holocaust denying Neo-Nazi. It’s a pretty telling representation of the current state of the GOP that they somehow failed to stop this literal piece of human trash from winning an uncontested race under their parties banner. How could they not manage to draft another candidate? Literally anyone else who isn’t a Nazi would do. I know this race was always very likely to go Democratic, but there is zero excuse for this. Even if Republicans are furiously denouncing him from their party, there is still a Nazi running under the Republican banner. Let us not forget that Roy Moore a pedophile and outright bigot also carried the GOP flag(to a very real well of rightwing support) and got close to 50% of the vote in the Alabama senate race that he lost earlier this year. The GOP has shown a penchant for supporting farther and farther right candidates and even though they denounce this one, they still deserve the blame for attracting these kinds of people with their angry and hateful rhetoric. On the democratic side Daniel Lipinski, a pro life democrat who is as conservative as a democrat can be won a tight race against a better candidate(in my opinion) in Marie Newman. Lipinski has usually had these races handed to him but he got an extremely competitive race on this one. Newman is a much more progressive candidate and I think a much better fit for what the Democratic party of the future should aim for. Lipinski is an old white man with large political connections who wants to deny Women’s access to abortion. I think the democratic party should not be touting anti choice candidates.

 

Cook County holds first jail wide in person voting Process

This past Saturday per ABC7Chicago, volunteers helped organize the first jail wide in person voting process in Cook County jail’s history. Apparently 94% of the inmate population is eligible to vote, so this will be a valuable tool to help those eligible voters actually get access to voting. As ABC notes, this is part of a wider movement to help give people trapped in the criminal justice system more opportunity to vote and have their voices heard. Jessie Jackson participated in the early voting to try and lead by example and encourage others to do the same. I really like this plan to help give inmates a better chance to have a voice in american politics, and hopefully down the line a bigger say in their own lives. Inmates throughout every prison in America have been one of the highest suffering victims of civil rights abuses, from the officers who arrested them, those who interrogated them, the DA’s who decided they would be going to jail, and the security guards who run their lives. Of course not every inmate is a victim of this, but our criminal justice system is objectively a horror show that incentivizes the worst type of aggressive policing and sentencing. Even though there have been pushes against throwing people in cages for consuming marijuana, many people who are just normal non dangerous human beings wanting to live their lives are still thrown into cages for victimless crimes. To not allow someone a vote, or to restrict their vote because of a conviction is a horrible violation of ones civil rights and just a downright insult to real democracy. These are human beings, and they deserve a say in their lives like all of us do. There’s also a racial component to this that has to mentioned, lest I be irresponsible. African Americans have been arrested and convicted for “crimes” like Marijuana offenses at a rate much higher than white people have, even though I can pretty much guarantee that white people are consuming Marijuana at, near, or above the same rate as any demographic. So barring or restricting inmates from voting is then another way racial discrimination has entrenched itself within America’s institutions. Look at states like Alabama, where as of 2016 the Sentencing project(a non profit D.C based reform organization) calculated that 7.6%(!) of the states population was disenfranchised. That meant that 15%(!!) of the states African American population was disenfranchised. I’ll use the word objectively again in saying that those numbers are truly hideous to behold.

Gun issue sparks protest outside Dupage County Fairgrounds

– Diana Moca of the Naperville Sun covered an interesting showdown between pro and anti gun protesters this past sunday outside Dupage County Fairgrounds, sparked by a “sportsmans” show that was scheduled to feature guns. This blog thought it would be worth it to check on this outburst of tensity and anger since this is an important issue for anyone anywhere. I could probably be accused of being reductionist or oversimplifying when saying the protest was between pro and anti gun people. There’s many people who are designated on the anti gun side, that i’m sure would say they are pro gun safety and anti certain types of guns rather than being broadly against the individual ownership of firearms. And i’m sure there are a number of people designated on the pro gun side who see themselves as pro gun safety too but believe that the measures advocated against them go too far. It’s also notable that the sportsman show was originally featuring AR-15’s, which were the guns used by shooters in the Parkland, Vegas, and Newton mass shootings as Moca notes and discusses with anti gun protest organizer Jax West. “Enough is enough. Too many people have been killed by the AR-15.” The Association that runs the show- Pioneer Valley Sportsman Association- responded by eliminating displays and raffles of the AR-15 and an item called a Bump Stock that is an attachment to the AR-15.

Moca does a good job of covering what the consequences of the guns attachment are. It apparently converts a semi automatic rifle which Moca notes fires one shot per trigger, into a automatic rifle which can continuously fire while it is pressed. Clearly many see these attachments as needless and dangerous. Why does any civilian need a killing machine that could fire death at an appalling rate? I know describing the weapon as a “killing machine” sounds completely loaded, biased, and a bad way of being fair but that is objectively what the gun is for and has been used as. I can’t see any argument that there’s any other reasons to buy this attachment or this gun other than to increase the efficiency of killing other living things. And I don’t see how that desire is so important as to desperately want to prevent bans on this specific weapon. If the desire isn’t to increase killing efficiency than what is used for? Firing practice maybe? Gun competitions? Sure that’s fair, but my point and the point of many others smarter than me would be that those things aren’t even close to the stratosphere of being an important enough reason to not implement a ban on semi automatic and automatic weapons. The Pioneer Valley Association and it’s 40 year veteran president Mario Tolemei thought that would be enough to quell anger but evidently the issues go beyond just this gun and it’s preceding attachments. As Moca writes, “Despite being “pleased with that” decision, West proceeded with her planned protest because, “I want sensible gun laws passed — universal background checks, no one under 21 can buy, vote out politicians that take money from the NRA .” There was a counter protest which Moca does a good job of covering, that went back and forth with the anti gun protesters on this tense Sunday morning. The arguments usually drifted towards the usual unintended consequences argument from pro gun people and the it’s way too easy to get a gun argument from anti gun people. There was also some insults flung around apparently, supportive or insulting honks, and just many symptoms of a very polarizing issue.

One of the quotes featured in the story, from a pro gun protester pointed at this division. “There’s a problem, but there’s more to it than guns,” said Rutkowski, who joined the group with his 11-year-old son, Matthew. “We’re all just as sick with the killings. It needs to stop. What also needs to stop is the blame. Taking everything away won’t solve the problem. People need to come together.” It’s easy to see the appeal to a stance like that and in many ways I think he is right. But there is also blame for the shootings that have happened and will continue to happen that needs to be distributed. Not for revenge but to try to prevent such things from happening again, and so justice can be achieved. There is of course more to these tragedies than the tools that facilitate them, but acting like the tools aren’t important is missing a huge part of the picture. Tolemei was apparently happy the protesters didn’t interrupt the show floor itself and noted the Pioneer Association hasn’t made any decision for their policies on displaying and raffling AR-15’s in future situations.

Can the State Seize your Property if you didn’t Commit the Crime?

bikeA word of advice to anyone planning on going out for a few drinks: don’t let someone else drive your car drunk.  A Robinson, Illinois woman learned this lesson the hard way when her drunken husband decided to drive her Harley Davidson motorcycle home on a suspended license and the court decided to confiscate it.   The major question of the case is whether or not the government is able to seize someone’s property if they weren’t the person who committed the crime.

The story goes like this: a woman and her husband decided to go out for a few drinks.  The woman, who was not drinking, was the designated driver for the night (always a smart move to have one of those) and was driving her husband around as they bar-hopped.  At the last bar, the husband, who had more than a few drinks and had multiple prior DUI convictions, got on the bike as the driver and told his wife to get on.  Knowing her husband was drunk and would be driving on a revoked license, the woman first refused until her husband told her he wasn’t getting off and she would have to walk the 12 blocks to their home.  The man was pulled over by police and charged with aggravated DUI and the State filed forfeiture documents on the bike and it was confiscated.

By their ruling in this case, both the lower court and Supreme Court answered the above questions as yes.  The woman and her attorney stated that the bike shouldn’t have been confiscated because she was not the one driving and the property didn’t belong to her husband.  The court ruled that by getting on the motorcycle, the woman was consenting to and enabling a crime and therefore the Harley was fair game for confiscation in a civil forfeiture of the property.  The trial court used the basis that the owner willfully allowed the husband to drive the property on a suspended license and therefore consented to the crime.  All of this justified seizing the motorcycle.

The Supreme Court also upheld the lower court’s ruling to confiscate the woman’s motorcycle when it was challenged due to the 8th amendment’s excessive fines clause.  The wife cited that her bike would be worth $35,000 and taking it from her would be an excessive fine.  The excessive fines clause basically states that the crime has to fit the punishment and an excessive fine can’t be given to someone for a minor crime.  In this case the court found that the fine was indeed not too excessive at all and didn’t violate the grossly disproportionate standard laid out in US vs Bajakajian.  The court looked at how integral the property was in the commission of the crime and found it was the very reason the crime was committed and therefore, justified the lower court’s decision.

Two judges dissented on this case.  Their reasons were due to the fact that the woman didn’t have much choice but to allow her husband to drive the bike and that it wasn’t reasonable to assume she should drag him off; basically stating that this was not enough consent to involve her in the crime.  This brings up a point as to how far the state is able to go as far as seizing property that is involved in a crime and how much responsibility the property owner has to prevent it from happening.  The major issue is that the wife in this case, obviously didn’t necessarily commit a crime.  Her husband was the one who committed the crime of driving under the influence but, he used her property to do so.  And in the end this means that the property was indeed fair game.

This is an important case and could set a precedent in future cases.  We’ll stay up to date on this case and others.  As always if you have any questions regarding DUI or any other information give us a call and one of our skilled attorneys will be happy to assist you.

San Francisco to Throw Out Marijuana Convictions

The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA at sunset.

As we previously reported, recreational marijuana became legal in the state of California on January 1st.  And now in an unprecedented move, the city of San Francisco will throw out all marijuana related misdemeanors dating back to 1975.

There are 8 states where recreational marijuana is legal and there are few cities that have adopted such actions as San Francisco.  After California legalized marijuana, San Francisco became the first city to automatically apply the new laws to cases dating back to the 1970s.  As of January 1st when the drug was legalized recreationally, people with misdemeanor violations could petition the court to have their records sealed which, would cost them a fee to do.  The district attorney in San Francisco noticed that very few people were taking advantage of this and decided to make a huge change. Misdemeanor marijuana cases will now be automatically thrown out and sealed with no cost or action required from those who currently have misdemeanor marijuana violations.  It’s estimated that more than 3,000 cases will be thrown out and sealed, all of the cases dating from back when marijuana was illegal.  The prosecutor says they will also examine another 5,000 felony cases as well and reduce those to misdemeanors if the person does not have another violent conviction on their record (such as murder).

Previously in California, possessing one ounce of marijuana would result in a misdemeanor.  Now, possessing up to an ounce of marijuana is completely legal and people do it every day. But, those people with records are still being punished and the new protocol could change the lives of many people with these convictions.  Marijuana offenses are non-violent drug offenses and can hold someone back from being hired; employers can refuse to hire someone who has checked the box regarding a misdemeanor and/or felony conviction. A person can also be denied housing benefits and college loans if they have this sort of conviction so, erasing them could be a second chance for many.  The cost of having your record sealed is can also be off-putting as well, which is a main reason for prosecutors automatically throwing out the cases.

Many states have adopted new laws on marijuana, but San Francisco is the only city to automatically expunge records and offer relief of this type.   A few months ago, the Nevada Governor vetoed a bill that would vacate the sentences of people convicted of marijuana misdemeanors.  Some other cities have adopted policies that allow for the person to petition the court to seal their records but none have an automatic process like San Francisco now does.   The actions of San Francisco could cause a ripple effect throughout California and we could potentially see this becoming the normal process for states where the drug is now legalized.

This is a huge step in the right direction in terms of relief for persons convicted of marijuana offenses in states where the drug is now legal.  People were still being penalized for marijuana records even though the drug was legalized.  We’ll stay up to date on any marijuana law changes so make sure to check back here for updates.

 

Jeff Sessions’ Marijuana Crackdown

jsTo the dismay of many marijuana supporters, this past Thursday Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced he will allow federal prosecutors to decide how they would like to handle marijuana cases.  The move sparked panic amongst marijuana growers, sellers, and buyers alike, especially in California where recreational marijuana became legal on January 1st.  The question remains: what will this mean for marijuana law in the 28 states where it’s legal medically and the 8 states where it’s legal recreationally?

This is a hard question to answer. First, we have to dive into the history of marijuana law over the past decade.   During the Obama administration, the golden rule was the Cole Memo. The Cole Memo basically stated that the federal government wouldn’t go after marijuana cases in states where the drug was legal, leaving the states a majority of the control and the power to govern themselves.  The memo stated that prosecutors should instead focus on illicit enterprises, rather than businesses that were following state laws.  These guidelines provided much needed security to marijuana businesses operating amongst conflicting laws.  Marijuana was, and is, still illegal on the federal level, but states could still decide to legalize the drug without fear of federal government interference during this time.  But, the Cole Memo was simply a memo- meaning it is not law and it could easily be changed, which is exactly what Sessions did.  This also opens up questions for states that have marijuana legislation on the forefront of discussions in their congress, like Illinois where lawmakers plan to bring legalization to a vote sometime this year. 

The new guidelines implemented by Sessions allow the US attorneys to use their discretion in pursuing marijuana cases; it no longer discourages them from charging marijuana providers in states where the drugs are legal.  Jeff Sessions has long been an opponent of Marijuana legalization, comparing it to the likes of heroin. So it’s not much of a shock that he decided to get rid of the Obama era rules.  This could mean huge changes for the marijuana markets that exist and this could possibly stall future marijuana legislation.  In his memo, Jeff Sessions enlisted the prosecutors to use their “resources most effectively to reduce violent crime, stem the tide of the drug crisis, and dismantle criminal gangs,” (Department of Justice).   Sessions’ own memo seems to contradict President Trump’s own ideas on marijuana; during his campaign he promised to not pursue states where marijuana is legal.

And the timing of the memo wasn’t coincidental.   The memo was released mere days after recreational marijuana became legal in California- the biggest state to date.  The California market could take a huge hit if the US attorneys choose to go after sellers.  The marijuana industry has seen insane and astronomical growth across the nation. In Colorado alone, the tax revenue has exceeded $506 million since marijuana became legal in 2014.  Marijuana equals money: states want the money and the citizens want it legalized.  So why make the drug illegal in a booming market? Members of congress believe this to be a huge mistake and aren’t taking this lightly.   Many members of congress have expressed their disagreement with the memo, with one senator from Colorado even refusing to approve appointments to the justice department until this is overturned.

It’s hard to navigate marijuana law in a country where the states and federal government have different laws on the books.  Until the laws become the same, issues like these will continue to exist.  We will stay up to date on any new marijuana news so make sure to check back here for updates.  As always, if you have any questions on this law or others, feel free to contact us and one of our skilled attorneys will be happy to assist you.

What You Need to Know about Recreational Marijuana in California

mjOn January 1, 2018, recreational marijuana became legal in the state of California.  California’s market is expected to be the largest legal marijuana market ever with more buyers and sellers than any state has ever seen. This means there are a few rules and regulations that users have to abide by if they want to partake and some things to know before you start your road trip to California.  Here’s a quick recap on everything you’ll need to know about recreational marijuana in California:

 

Age and Weight

The age requirement to buy and use marijuana is 21 years and older. This means that the dispensaries will of course be checking IDs the make sure no one underage illegally purchases the drug.  There’s also restrictions on the amount a person can purchase and carry- up to one ounce of marijuana.  The state has imposed the time frame of 10pm- 6am where dispensaries are not allowed to sell.

Non-resident Usage?

Residents of any state can purchase the recreational marijuana– but if it crosses state lines it can be considered drug trafficking and carries heavy consequences.  (Stay tuned for a blog on marijuana at the federal level). Taking drugs with you on an airplane probably isn’t the best idea either and could potentially get you in legal trouble there as well.  As we recently wrote, it’s also important to remember that an employer can terminate an employee for using recreational or medicinal marijuana, even if the drugs were legal where used.

“Can I smoke here?”

Be careful where you smoke as well.  In California it is still illegal to smoke in public and there is a state imposed fine for those who break the law.  Marijuana usage must be done on private property.  Marijuana is also banned from all places where tobacco is banned which means you can’t light up at schools or parks either.

Driving Under the Influence

As of January 1st, it’s illegal to use marijuana while operating a motor vehicle or as a passenger in a vehicle. Police are on the lookout for users driving under the influence and those who are caught under the influence will face DUI charges.  Marijuana also must be in a completely sealed container if it is being carried in a car which is the same as alcohol.

 

As always, if you have questions on this topic or others feel free to give us a call and one of our skilled attorneys will happy to assist you.

 

New Laws for 2018

As 2017 comes to a close, we usher in 2018 with a new set of laws that go into effect January 1st. This year there are more than 200 new laws that Illinois has put in place.  We’ve compiled a list of some of the most important laws you should know (and we included some of our favorites).  You can check out a full list of all the new laws here.

 

typingOnline Threats Can be Considered Hate Crimes

Of course we’re all probably users of some aspect of social media and therefore familiar with the dangers of cyber stalking and online harassment.  Now, users who make online threats can be prosecuted for hate crimes if their posts are considered obscene or forms of intimidation.

Mental Health Training Requirement for Police Officers

There are 2 different laws that include mental health training/ classification.  The first law will require police officer training on the types of mental health issues and their signs and symptoms.  Also, police officers in counties of 3 million people or more must complete crisis intervention training.  The second law establishes a council that will look into implementing early identification and classification of mental illnesses.

PainPills-1Charges for Providing Drugs

You can now be charged with “drug- induced- homicide” if you provide drugs to someone and they die as a result of the drugs.  This is a Class X felony and carries a sentence of up to 30 years in prison.  With Illinois currently facing an opioid crisis, lawmakers are attempting to stop providers of these dangerous drugs.

New DUI Law Sentencing Laws

If you drive on a suspended license from an aggravated DUI and it results in a death, the sentencing will be treated the same way as reckless homicide.  The sentencing for reckless homicide is a Class 3 Felony and carries a sentence of 2-5 years in prison.

No “For Sale” Signs or Stickers on Windows

Under this new law drivers will not be allowed to display “for sale signs” or price tags on windows in order to prevent distractions.  Before you drive off the lot with your new car, the price tag must be taken off.

dogPets are Considered Marital Assets

Couples who are divorcing can now have a judge decide who gets custody of their pets if they can’t come to an agreement. Before this law, pets were usually treated like property that could be divided between the couples.  Judges will look at factors like who typically spends more money on the pet’s food and vet bills and who spends the most time with the pet.

elephantNo More Elephants in the Circus

Sorry Ringling Brothers- elephants will no longer be allowed in circuses in Illinois.  Illinois becomes the first state to ban elephants in circuses and travelling animal acts. This law will protect elephants which are usually abused in these types of big top settings.

 

Childcare Safety Database

This law creates a childcare database for parents where they can search for childcare providers and see which facilitates have had their licenses revoked or those with other infractions.

veterabsMore Assistance for Veterans

Veterans will now have access to better tools in order to ease their transition back into civilian life. These tools include more veteran courts, providing veterans with service animal information, and awarding academic credits for military training.

 

october-pink-1714664_960_720Breast Cancer Coverage

Insurers are now required to provide coverage for a breast MRI if a mammogram shows dense breast tissue.   Mammograms alone cannot always detect breast cancer in patients that have dense or heterogeneous breast tissue and in many cases an MRI or an ultrasound may be required.  Illinois is one of the only states that will now require insurers to provide these tests for patients.

Sexual Assault Policy Requirement

In 2017, we saw many women and men come forward to say they were victims of sexual assault and harassment.  Now, all law enforcement agencies must now have a written policy for any officer that is involved in a sexual assault in order to ensure that everything is handled properly.

hair cutDry Cleaners and Hair Salons Must List their Prices

In an attempt to ensure that men and women are charged equal prices for equal services salons and dry cleaners must have their prices listed.  Senator Melinda Bush believes that these service providers unfairly charge women a higher price than men and therefore service prices must be listed in advance.

 

If you have any questions on these law or any others, don’t hesitate to contact us and one of our skilled attorneys will be happy to assist you.  We here at Lauralaw wish you a Happy and Healthy new year!

 

Red Light Ticket Refunds

red light cameraWe all know the dreadful feeling- you’re driving through a yellow light, hoping that it doesn’t turn red and set the red light photo enforced camera off.  With the possibility of a ticket looming over our heads we vigorously check the mail for weeks, and to our dismay we discover the $100 ticket due to the city of Chicago within 14 days.  These impossible-to-avoid cameras seem to be at every intersection.

But ticket-payers rejoice!!  There is some good news for those who have received a red light ticket.  Back in July, the city reached an agreement in a class-action lawsuit to refund those who were charged late fees.  The city was in direct violation of their own law to give out second notices before charging late fees- which were double the price of the original ticket.  If you had a violation between March 23rd, 2010 and May 17, 2015 you may be eligible of a refund up to 50% of what you paid.

The city mailed out notices to those who were possibly affected by this lawsuit with instructions on how to file a claim.  But, you can also click here and go to the City of Chicago’s website and enter your information to see if have an eligible ticket.  You must file a claim by December 11, 2017 so make sure to submit them as soon as possible!!  The city will pay up to $38.5 million in refunds and they will be paid out next August.

And as always, if you have questions regarding this or any other law don’t hesitate to contact us and one of our skilled attorneys will be happy to assist you.

Field Sobriety Tests

By: Guest Author, Kevin Crowley

dui

 

Field Sobriety Tests To Expect When Cops Pull You Over

When a police officer asks you to pull over and step out of your car on suspicion of drunk driving, he will likely ask you to perform field sobriety tests to determine if you are indeed intoxicated. Field sobriety testing, after all, is one of the primary tools that law enforcement uses to decide whether or not to book you for a DUI.

Standardized Field Sobriety Tests

There are three Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST) that the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) endorses and law enforcement readily implements. They are the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN), walk-and-turn (WAT) and one-leg stand (OLS).

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus

This SFST is regularly featured in movie and TV scenes that show police pulling a car over, taking out a penlight and shining it into the eyes of the driver and asking him or her to follow the light.

The actual test typically uses a small object which the driver has to follow with his or her eyes as the officer moves it from side to side. Cops do it to see how the driver’s eyes jerk when it gazes to the side. The whole exercise revolves around the fact that the eye’s involuntary jerking or nystagmus becomes more exaggerated if the driver is intoxicated by alcohol.

Walk and Turn

This test works under the assumption that people who are not impaired by alcohol can easily complete tasks even when their attention is divided. Drivers are made to take nine heel-to-toe steps along a straight line, turn on one foot, and repeat the previous steps but in the opposite direction.

One-Leg Stand

This test requires a driver to stand on one leg with one foot about six inches off the ground for 30 seconds. The police officer will take hopping, swaying, using arms to balance, or putting the foot down before the 30 seconds are up as indicators that the driver is impaired by alcohol.

Law enforcement also administers field sobriety tests other than the three SFSTs above. Check out the infographic below to see more field sobriety tests.

 

 

Author Bio:
Kevin Crowley is an experienced DUI lawyer at  Lane, Hupp & Crowley PLC, a team of criminal defense lawyers in Phoenix, Arizona. He enjoys writing about law and helping his clients handle their legal needs.