Bloodshot and Glassy Eyes Are Not Clues of Impairment
In almost every DUI I have encountered, the arresting officer has indicated that the alleged drunk driver had “bloodshot” or “glassy” eyes. We challenge the officer by pointing out that he has never seen the defendant before and has no idea whether or not the defendant was engaging in activity that would logically cause bloodshot eyes (fatigue, being in a smoky environment, etc.). This would usually end cross-examination on this issue and the officer would be able to establish an important factor in deciding whether or not to remove the driver for standardized field sobriety testing. (Phase II of the NHTSA DUI Investigation) It turns out that NHTSA has conducted a study which could really help out. NHTSA has discounted these clues as prejudicial and irrelevant to determining intoxication. NHTSA released a report in 1997 that removes all of these clues as indicators of impairment. The materials provide an excellent resource for cross-examination of an arresting officer. Specifically, the report states:
“Finally, some cues were eliminated because they might be indicators more of social class than of alcohol impairment. For example, officers informed us that a flushed or red face might be an indication of a high BAC in some people. However, the cue also is characteristic of agricultural, oil field, and other outside work. Similarly, bloodshot eyes, while associated with alcohol consumption, also is a trait of many shift workers and people who must work more than one job, as well as those afflicted by allergies. A disheveled appearance similarly is open to subjective interpretation. We attempted to limit the recommendation to clear and objective post-stop behaviors.” Jack Stuster, U.S. Department of Transportation, NHTSA Final Report, The Detection of DWI at BACs Below 0.10, DOT HS-808-654 (Sept. 1997), p. E-10.
Charles M. Rowland II has dedicated his practice to representing the accused drunk driver. His commitment includes continuous study of the forensic sciences and legal strategies that will help you win your DUI case. If you find yourself in need of a qualified and experienced Ohio OVI attorney, CONTACT Charles M. Rowland II at (937) 318-1DUI or 1-888-ROWLAND.
- The Reality of an Ohio DUI Arrest (daytondui.com)
- Arrested for OVI in Ohio? How You Act is Important (daytondui.com)
- Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (daytondui.com)
- Arrested for DUI in Beavercreek, Ohio? (daytondui.com)