Field sobriety tests are an important part of drunk driving law enforcement. Police officers cannot tell from a few questions if someone is too drunk to safely drive. Having a driver step out of their vehicle and perform several basic tasks can make it easier for an officer to evaluate them for signs of impairment.
Of course, like chemical breath tests, these field sobriety tests can give a false impression of someone’s drunkenness or sobriety. What are three reasons other than intoxication that someone might perform poorly on field sobriety tests?
They are an anxious person
People with anxiety will sometimes joke that they lose even the most basic skills when someone else observes them performing a task. While they may be sober enough to complete the walk-and-turn and one-leg-stand tests, the anxiety someone feels during a traffic stop could lead to them faltering and appearing intoxicated.
They have issues with blood sugar
Someone with unbalanced blood sugar can display unusual behaviors. They can slur their speech or have issues with motor function. They could even fail a chemical breath test because of their blood sugar.
There are other medical issues, like obesity or hearing issues, that could also affect someone’s driving ability or their performance on field sobriety tests. For certain individuals, medical documentation could be part of their defense against drunk driving charges.
They are tired
Fatigue can impact your motor function and attention span. The impact of exhaustion often closely mirrors the way alcohol affects the body.
Realizing that field sobriety tests are not infallible may give you the motivation to fight your impaired driving charges.