Explaining Behaviors Or Appearances That May Be Mistaken For Intoxication

Posted on: 23 August 2017

Failing the DUI (driving under the influence) field sobriety tests doesn't automatically mean you are drunk even though it does a good job of making it seem so. There are valid alternative reasons why someone would fail the tests despite being drunk; here are four examples of these alternatives:

Physical Impairments

Some forms of physical disabilities can hinder your performance in the field sobriety tests. For example, an overweight driver, a driver with a hip injury or a driver suffering from a leg deformity may find it difficult to perform any test that involves standing on one leg or walking on a straight line satisfactorily. Someone with an eyesight problem may also find it difficult to excel in a test that involves following an officer's finger with their eyes. In fact, it is possible for a physical injury or disability to affect your performance on the tests even without your knowledge.

Confusing Instructions

The test instructions aren't always clear to everybody. It is easy to fail in any test, including field sobriety instructions if the instructions aren't clear to you. In some cases, the confusion comes from the officer's inability to issue clear instructions due to issues such as improper training. Unfortunately, it is not easy to prove that this is why you failed the test.

Alternative Causes of Slurred Speech

Intoxication causes slurred speech in many people, which is why an officer may assume you are drunk when they ask you a question and you reply with slurred speech. However, there are alternative causes of slurred speech such as medications or neurological diseases such as dysarthria, which weakens your speech-controlling muscles. It is just that it's not easy for a police officer to think of a neurological condition before thinking of alcohol intoxication as the cause of your speech difficulties.

Alternative Causes of Bloodshot Eyes

It is easy for a police officer to assume that a motorist with bloodshot eyes is intoxicated because alcohol does make people's eyes red. However, there are alternative causes of red eyes that don't necessarily affect a person's ability to drive safely. For example, your eyes can get red if you have been crying or if you have been missing sleep for the last few days.

As you can see, you don't have to be drunk to fail the field sobriety tests. However, the police officers or prosecution won't take your word for it, and you need the help of a DUI attorney to prove your defense.