How can your health impact field sobriety test results?

| Aug 28, 2020 | DUI |

Georgia drivers like you should understand DUI laws in the state. This way, if an officer ever pulls you over, you can predict what they may do next. The first thing they will likely do is give you a field sobriety test.

But even step one does not always go without a hitch. Your mental and physical health can affect and alter the results that your sobriety test may show.

Mental and physical conditions vs. sobriety testing

FieldSobrietyTests.org looks at the impact your mental and physical health have on field sobriety test results. First, mental health conditions often impact the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. This test checks the involuntary jerking of the eye when looking side to side. If your blood alcohol content (BAC) level is higher, this movement is often more prominent.

But neurological disorders can also have the same effect. Also, if you struggle with anxiety, you may have trouble making eye contact in the first place. Your nerves could result in constant glancing away or around. Certain mental disabilities also make it hard to understand test instructions on the first pass. You may need to have them repeated before you get it.

The affect of physical impairment

Physical impairments can affect your results for the one-legged stand and walk-and-turn tests. For example, an officer should not ask anyone over the age of 65 or over 50 pounds overweight to do these tests. Same for anyone with physical conditions that preclude them. An officer should also consider health issues affecting balance, like inner ear infections. So should any injuries to the leg, back or foot. Any of these issues can sway your results from pass to fail.