Law Enforcement Testimony
Standardized Field Sobriety Test Officers1
Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) as promulgated by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are not generally well known or understood by most jurors. They are, however, routinely used by law enforcement officers in Driving While Impaired (DWI)2 cases, and the arresting officer must be fully prepared to testify in court. Testimonial evidence in DWI cases is usually the only way to establish the fact that the accused was in fact the driver of the vehicle involved in the incident. The officer’s observations may be the only source for establishing that the accused was impaired.
Preparation for testimony begins at the time of the incident and requires:
Preparation for testimony continues prior to trial by:
Once an officer receives a subpoena or other notification of a trial date, the officer should:
1 Driving While Impaired (DWI) is the term used throughout this publication to refer to driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. This term is intended to cover Operating Under the Influence, Driving Under the Influence, Driving While Intoxicated, or whatever language is used in your jurisdiction.
2 The authors of this guide would like to thank L.R. “Bob” Jacob of the Institute of Police Technology and Management (IPTM), Jacksonville, Florida for permission to reprint this material from IPTM’s “DUI Case Preparation Manual for the Florida Law Enforcement Officer,” 2001 edition. Any changes, errors or omissions from the original document are the responsibility of the authors of this guide.