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Some health conditions may affect field-sobriety test results

On Behalf of | Feb 5, 2020 | DUI |

Even if you have done nothing wrong, seeing flashing lights in your rear-view mirror probably makes you nervous. On the other hand, if you have had too much to drink, a roadside stop may be downright terrifying. Either way, you must realize the methods officers use to determine if a motorist is drunk may not always be reliable. 

In Minnesota, it is illegal to drive a motor vehicle if you have a blood alcohol concentration greater than 0.08%. To gauge the sobriety of drivers, patrol officers use a few different techniques. Like breath tests, which can give false-positive readings, field-sobriety tests are not infallible. This is especially true if a DWI suspect has certain health conditions. 

Field-sobriety testing 

If an officer suspects you are driving drunk, he or she may administer a field-sobriety test. Officers in the Gopher State typically ask DWI suspects to perform one or more of the following tasks: 

  • Walk forward and turn on command 
  • Balance on one leg 
  • Follow an object with just the eyes 
  • Recite a numerical or alphabetical sequence 

Mobility issues 

From arthritis to broken bones, you may have a variety of mobility issues that interfere with your ability to pass a field-sobriety test. Furthermore, if you have vertigo, a condition that affects balance, you may appear drunk when you are perfectly sober. 

Cognitive issues 

Passing a field-sobriety test often requires remembering pieces of information or repeating details back to an officer. If you have cognitive issues, such as memory problems, you may not be able to sufficiently comply with the officer’s request. 

While field-sobriety testing is an important tool that officers use to catch intoxicated drivers, it is not perfect. Therefore, if you have a health condition that may interfere with your ability to comply with the test, you should inform the officer during the stop. If you have to defend yourself against DWI charges, this disclosure may become incredibly valuable. 

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