Can Physical Injuries Be a Defense to a DUI Charge?

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Before the police have someone attempt the roadside agility maneuvers, officially known as the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, they are required to ask whether the person has any back, hip, or leg problems that would prevent them from completing the tests.  Often, police merely gloss right over this question or minimize the need for an honest and considered answer.  This question is not supposed to be asked just for the sake of asking, but is asked because the answer matters.  If the person has back, hip, or leg problems they should not take the tests and the officer should know that they are not supposed to even give the person the test.

Often, even after the person tells the officer of their physical impairments or ailments, the officer will ask the person to go ahead and attempt the tests.  Officers know that once someone attempts the test and fail, even if the failure was due to their physical malady and not alcohol, the officer can use that failed test to increase the sense of futility to refuse sobriety test or further questioning.  Officers also know that most people, even when they failed the tests due to legitimate physical problems, will most likely plead guilty without putting up a fight because they believe that the evidence is stacked against them.

A person with arthritis in their knees, hips or back will have far greater difficulty standing on one leg or walking heel-to-toe than a healthy athlete.  Arthritis, knee and ankle problems, and back issues can explain behavior that the officer will otherwise contribute to the effects of alcohol.

If you’ve been arrested for DUI in Columbus and you have a back, hip, or leg problem that contributed to your inability to pass Field DUI Sobriety Tests, contact a Knowledgeable DUI Attorney to begin building your defense today.