If you have been pulled over under suspicion of DUI, it's likely that you will be given a field sobriety test to determine if you should be driving or not. These are standard in every state across the nation, and if you fail the test, it may signify that you've had too much to drink and shouldn't be driving.
Many motorists live under the false belief that field sobriety tests are 100 percent accurate. While they are a solid starting point to determine if an individual should be driving, there are many health and mental conditions that can affect a field sobriety test.
If you have limited distance or night vision or any other eye condition, it can be difficult to undergo a field sobriety test any time after the sun goes down. Law enforcement uses the ability to track objects as a marker for whether you can focus and see, but at times, the inability to track can be the sign of illness or injury.
You may be asked to stand on one leg or walk a straight line to determine how intoxicated you are. Both serious and minor ailments may affect the ability to do this. Even a simple condition like vertigo can make it difficult to stand, walk and balance during your test. Certain medications can also make it seem as if you are intoxicated during your test.
If you have problems with your memory or a difficult time formulating certain things into words, it can be tough to pass a field sobriety test. A law enforcement officer can ask for simple things like answering easy math problems or reciting the alphabet backwards. Your memory directly affects your ability to do these things and may be more of an issue than any alcohol you have in your system.
The anxiety of being pulled over for driving under the influence can also make it hard to remember basic things. Some medications may also affect your memory, rendering you unable to pass the basic memory tasks that you are asked to complete.
What to do
If you have been pulled over and have problems with your field sobriety test, there is no reason to panic. Always disclose any medical issues you have to an officer before completing your test. If you fail the test and are concerned about the future, an attorney may be able to answer questions about the best way to challenge the results of a test.