Free Consultations 678.712.8561
Benefit from the Experience of Attorneys Bill and Valerie Sherman Former Assistant Attorney General, Assistant County Attorneys and Magistrate Judge

I Am Injured and Did Not Perform the Field Sobriety Tests Well: Can I Get My DUI Thrown Out?

Question: The other night I was coming home from my company's cigar and bourbon party in midtown Atlanta. It was a blast - good cigars and top notch bourbon. Problem is that I was stopped for failure to maintain lane as I was coming home and was arrested for DUI . I tried to do the field sobriety tests but I didn't do well on the walk and turn part because I broke my ankle playing tennis in an ALTA tennis league a little while ago. Does it help my case that my ankle was hurt?
Answer: First off, cigar and bourbon nights can be a lot of fun and they are gaining in popularity. A good cigar, like a Macanudo, Arturo Fuente, H. Upmann, Ashton, Partagas, CAO, Cohiba, Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta or El Rey de Mundocan be quite enjoyable, especially when coupled with a good bourbon like Maker's Mark, Jack Daniel's, Knob Creek, Woodford Reserve, Elijah Craig, Pappy van Winkle, Bulleit, Jim Beam, Evan Williams, or Wild Turkey.
The walk and turn test or nine step test or DUI walk test, as it is also known, is a way for a police officer to judge a person's apparent intoxication. The test was developed by the NHTSA, a Federal agency, and officers look for things like balance, starting too soon, taking the correct number of steps & touching of heel to toe. The test is considered to be accurate at a rate of about 68% and is considered almost as accurate for DUI as the HGN test (horizontal gaze nystagmus).
If you told the police officer (or deputy sheriff or Georgia state trooper, as the case may be) that you were physically injured, that would very likely mean that the walk and turn test would not be as accurate as if you were totally healthy. If you did not mention your injury to the officer (and they usually do ask about prior injuries), that could be a problem because a juror or judge in a DUI case may think that you did not mention it because you have healed and are bringing it up later as an excuse for poor performance on the field sobriety test.
So, in short, yes it may help your case if you can show that you were injured when you did the walk and turn test and it was that injury, not intoxication, that caused your poor performance.
Categories: