Medical Conditions Challenge to Field Sobriety Tests

    There are many reasons why you can and should challenge field sobriety tests if ever subjected to one. They are not always reliable, and the training that goes into administering the tests is minimal. However, for some individuals who are pulled over for driving while intoxicated, the field sobriety tests may not be fair due to the driver’s medical conditions. 

Without a baseline to know how someone with existing medical conditions would perform soberly on a given sobriety test, it can be difficult to judge results fairly. If you suffer from a medical condition and are dealing with DWI charges, contact a trusted DWI lawyer today at The Shostak Law Firm, LLC. We’ll make sure to handle your case with your best interests in mind.

Can Physical Impairments Affect Field Sobriety Tests? 

Yes, physical impairments can easily affect your field sobriety participation. Individuals who are over the age of 65 may not even be able to perform some parts of the test. A walk-and-turn test or a one-leg stand test would be challenging on their best day. Moreover, performing either test could put them in danger of injuring themselves. Some also say this for those who are at least fifty pounds overweight. 

Inner ear conditions or vertigo cases can compromise one’s balance and have adverse effects on the test results on any given day. That information is essential for the officer to know ahead of time; they may take a sober person’s inability to balance as a sign of intoxication. Any type of back injury or leg injury could also impair one’s balance. This impairment could lead to the point of failing a field sobriety test. 

Can Mental Conditions Affect Field Sobriety Tests?

Seeing lights and hearing sirens will take a hit to anyone’s nerves. But, the toll it takes on those who suffer from anxiety can be crippling. Fear or stress can keep you from performing well on a field sobriety test. It can also get in the way of your understanding of the test. 

An officer should present the tests to you before they occur. The police officer is responsible for making sure you understand the rules and expectations before participating. For those with mental conditions, it may be entirely out of reach to expect the driver to understand the process entirely before the testing begins. Moreover, those with mental disorders may not be able to communicate their misunderstanding in real-time. 

Asking for clarity may not be an option, and suffering in silence could lead to unnecessary consequences. Another important consideration should be made for those with mental and/or medical conditions when performing the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. Some mental conditions may cause one’s eyes to jerk involuntarily. This is a factor that can easily lead to a failing score on the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. 

How Can I Challenge My Field Sobriety Test?

Contrary to popular belief, you are not required to take a field sobriety test if a police officer pulls you over for possible DWI charges. You can refuse to take the test, but it does not mean you are off the hook. Since getting pulled over can be intimidating, many people will nervously give into a field sobriety test. If this has happened to you, you can still challenge the results. With the help of a trusted DWI lawyer, you’ll be well on your way. 

A qualified professional understands how unreliable these test results can be and will take the time to investigate the problems surrounding your testing. Be sure to mention if you suffer from a medical condition that could have affected your test participation.

If you are facing charges for a possible DWI, contact us today at The Shostak Law Firm, LLC to discuss your experience. We are here to help you get past intimidation tactics and make sure you are treated fairly in the court of law. 

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