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DUI: Disabilities & Injuries

Question: I got arrested for a DUI in Sandy Springs and I looked real bad on the tests the cop asked me to do. But the reason I looked so bad was that I have a broken toe and it hurts when I put pressure on it.

I was pulled over by the police officer for speeding. He said that I was travelling over 20 miles per hour over the speed limit. He said I blew by him while I was driving and that I almost hit another car. I'll admit that I was speeding but I wasn't that intoxicated.

I did all his tests and I almost fell down a couple of times. That's when he stopped the tests and told me I was under arrest. But I wasn't drinking booze. I actually had been smoking pot and I take pills for depression and ADHD.

Since I almost fell down and I have an excuse, I want to know if that will help my defense for the drunk driving charge. It was really my broken toe that was the cause for the near falls.

What is your advice?

B.R. in Roswell, GA

Answer: We do receive a good amount of questions as to how disabilities and injuries can affect the performance of DUI field sobriety tests. If you informed the police officers that you were suffering from a broken toe, that certainly can be used in your defense to show that an injury impacted your performance on the tests, not intoxication.

It would also help greatly if you can bring a note from a doctor or even an X-ray to help demonstrate the injury. Obviously, a broken toe can significantly impact one's performance on field sobriety tests.

We'd like to know if you took a breathalyzer test or a blood test. Because if you can show that at least some of the field sobriety tests are inapplicable to you due to injury, then the breath test and/or blood test will become even more important. Also, we'd like know if you admitted to drinking, smoking marijuana or taking medication.

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