Back issues and DUI

Question: I got a DUI in Sandy Springs, Georgia, and I have some issues with the police officer. I was pulled over because the cop said I was speeding. I admit that I was speeding.

But he asked me to take some tests and I did. The problem is that I have a bad back because I was injured. I actually fell off a roof when I was working in Dunwoody about 2 years ago. My back needed surgery at Northside Hospital.

I got stopped when I was coming home from a bachelor party. I did have a few drinks but I don't think I was actually drunk. I had a buzz, that's all.

When the Sandy Springs cop stopped me I admitted to a few drinks. I said I like tequila and vodka.

Then the officer made me get out of my car and do some tests. I told him I had a bad back but he made me do them anyway. I must have looked bad. My back hurt and I almost fell. I can't walk straight even without a few drinks.

What should I do because I looked like I was drunk. I really must have looked like I was DUI and I will look bad on the video.

S.B. in Sandy Springs, Georgia

Answer: The tests the Sandy Springs police officer requested you do are called field sobriety tests. They are supposed to be a way for law enforcement officials to tell if someone is driving drunk.

However, for the tests to have scientific validity they need to be administered correctly and the person taking the tests needs to be in good health. Having a bad back could very well tend to negate the tests, at least the ones involving physical movement.

It's important that you produce evidence of your back issues. You can do that by getting letters and records from doctors who have or are treating you.

Basically, you need to show that your performance on the field sobriety tests was due to your bad back, not drinking.

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