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Medical Conditions & DUI Testing

by | Jul 1, 2011

As I have said before, the three Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs) approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as well as any non-standardized tests (saying the alphabet) dreamed up by police, are very difficult to do even when sober.  The one legged stand (OLS) involves standing on one leg, with the foot of the raised leg six inches off the ground, and counting aloud for 30 seconds.  This is not easy for anyone with poor balance, overweight people, or people who have suffered from any number of injuries or illnesses.

If you have been pulled over for suspicion of a DUI in Washington, DC and the officer asks you to perform the OLS or the Walk and Turn (WAT), he or she is supposed to first ask if you have any medical conditions or injuries that would make it hard to perform the test. They often do not ask this question.  If they do, and your answer is yes, the officer is supposed to say “I will take that under consideration.”  When I received my three days of training in DWI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Test Administration, the trooper told me that they really don’t have any way to actually take your medical condition under consideration.  They simply hold you to same the standards as anyone else taking the test.  They may fail you even though you do not have the physical ability to pass while completely sober.

Your Washington, DC DUI lawyer should ask you about any injuries or other medical conditions.  The fact that an officer did not take them into consideration does not mean that a judge should ignore them also.  There are a lot of ways to fight a DUI.  Always remember than an arrest is not a conviction.