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Health conditions that affect field sobriety tests

On Behalf of | Nov 8, 2016 | Drunk Driving

Field sobriety tests are a standard for many law enforcement agencies across the country. They are administered to drivers who are suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol. Although there is a common belief by many motorists that these tests are fail-proof, they may in fact give false results in certain situations. Many officers of the law may not be trained or knowledgeable about the circumstances that can invalidate field sobriety tests. To prevent yourself from being detained unfairly, you should learn about the health conditions that can affect the results of your field sobriety tests.

Mobility challenges

People who suffer from disorders and injuries that affect their ability to move normally may not be able to pass a field sobriety test. Law enforcement officials may require you to walk a straight line or stand on one leg so they can assess your level of intoxication. There are many kinds of minor and serious ailments you can have, such as vertigo, that can affect your ability to balance, walk and stand, which may be related to any medications and activities you have recently participated in other than drinking.

Memory problems

If you have trouble remembering things, you may end up struggling during a field sobriety test. You may be asked to answer simple math problems and questions, to recite the alphabet backward and other things so law enforcement can assess your cognitive awareness and judgment. Memory issues can occur as a side effect of medications, anxiety and other reasons, causing you to be unable to complete those tests accurately.

Vision conditions

If you encounter problems with your eyesight that make it hard for you to see very well, such as limited night or distance vision, you may struggle when asked to take a sobriety test. The ability to track objects is often used to determine your ability to see and focus. However, there are times when the tracking ability portion of the exam may indicate the presence of injury or illness.

It is important for you to inform law officials at the time of testing if you are on any medications or suffering from any physical, mental or vision challenges that can affect your test results. They should document this information so it is available when necessary.

Failing a sobriety test due to medical/health issues is not the end of the world, but it does raise some concerns about whether you are able to operate a vehicle safely. If you are dealing with the aftermath of a failed sobriety test and potential DUI situation, you should consult with an attorney for further guidance.