Thursday, May 1, 2008

Eye or Nystagmus Test can be Taped under new technologoy

California DUI criminal defense attorney news

Stopped for a California DUI? What are officers looking for during a California DUI sobriety test? Is it possible to tell if you're California DUI - drunk just by looking at your eyes?

The answer is maybe, and new California DUI technology has been created to record it all for California DUI officers.

It is a new version of an old test that is performed all the time - sometimes wrong - on suspected California DUI - drunk drivers: Follow an officer's finger only using their eyes.

California DUI cops look at eyes; California DUI cops suspect abnormal eyes stick out.

The eyes of a California DUI - drunk driver can now be recorded using a new device, called "HawkEye," created by California company AcunetX. Ron Waldorf is the CEO.

California DUI officers still do the finger test, because it can still see your eyes, hear California DUI lawyers. The device records what California DUI officers see as evidence for criminal proceedings.

Using infrared lights, HawkEye transfers the images to a laptop computer. There's even a wireless microphone attached. California DUI authorities have claimed for years that alcohol impairment makes the eyes jerk.

Some drugs may affect how your eyes move, others may affect how your pupils react; some drugs do both.

Nystagmus test: Follow the tip of the pen. Both eyes are moving together and they're following the source.

The best way would be test sober and then later when impaired. You could then see it on the video: On the top are eyes without alcohol, and below are eyes while impaired.

The California Highway Patrol has been using this California DUI device for three years, training cadets at the CHP Academy in West Sacramento. "It's an excellent training tool," say California DUI cops. "It allows us to show exactly what we're looking for and what we're trying to describe. They can see it themselves (during their California DUI training)."

But the CHP only uses HawkEye for training, not as a tool for California DUI arrests. The CHP says it's not being considered for California DUI field use at all.

It does take a little bit of time for the courts are going to allow us to use brand new technology, say California DUI attorney prosecutors. With piles of California DUI cases, she says technology-backed evidence definitely helps get California DUI convictions, but new technology faces hurdles.

You have a judge who is the Gatekeeper of evidence, and who is probably going to be hesitant about allowing that technology in until they have court opinions that say it's appropriate, California DUI lawyers maintain.

So far, no HawkEye-recorded evidence has ever been used for prosecution in California DUI court. All California DUI - drunk drivers arrested in field trials have pleaded guilty. California DUI breathalyzers and California DUI blood tests already get convictions for California DUI - drunk driving.

If the HawkEye were used in drug cases, a doctor would have to testify about what the images mean medically.

The video only captures the eye movement of the defendant. It does not capture what the officer is doing. In order to properly do the California DUI field sobriety test, you have to make sure the California DUI officer was conducting the California DUI test properly, California DUI attorneys suspect.

But the idea of recording eyes is gaining steam. The cities of Orange, Laguna Hills and Bakersfield have purchased HawkEye for California DUI training, along with several other agencies across the nation.

A handful -- including Bakersfield -- have even started using it at California DUI checkpoints.

AcunetX believes that is just the beginning: eventually, it will be out of the squad car, self-contained, battery-powered, with flash memory. They will use it and store it in a patrol car.

If you are stopped at a California DUI checkpoint, if you can recite the alphabet, walk a straight line, and touch your nose with ease, etc., just know there's one thing officers look for that you can't control, whether it's recorded or not: One's eyes.

HawkEye video could wind up in California DUI court soon. A official in Cleveland who was at one of their recent DUI checkpoints where HawkEye was being used, waited for someone to get busted so he could use this eye tape in court. California DUI attorneys are not clear whether such evidence is reliable, trustworthy, accurate and admissible.