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If you are injured, you will probably fail the field sobriety tests

Question: I went to a crazy Super Bowl party and got hammered, I mean more drunk than I've been in a long time. We were pounding some Long Island iced teas, playing beer pong, and drinking through straws. Besides the Long Islands there was Absinthe and Tequila.

I was supposed to sleep over in my friend's guest room with my girlfriend, but we got into a fight after she accused me of cheating, so I tried driving home. That was a mistake, because on my way home I hit a tree and wrecked my car. When someone pulled up I said that I had called a friend to get me but I think they called the Forsyth County police. It seemed like the deputies got there really fast and they thought I'd been drinking, which I think was really obvious.

The Forsyth cops asked if I'd take those field sobriety tests and I agreed. I didn't do well. I think I failed the field sobriety tests. I stumbled and actually fell. The second time I fell the deputies stopped the test. Then they arrested me and I took a blood test. I don't know how I did on the blood test.

But I want to know what I can say about the field tests because I must have looked drunk.

R.K. in Cumming, GA

Answer: If you are injured, you will probably fail the field sobriety tests. The tests are optional.

After being in a car accident, particularly one that "wrecks" or "totals" your car, a reasonable argument can be made that your performance on the field sobriety tests was due to the impact of the accident, not intoxication. You may have been physically injured in the accident, and that could certainly affect your performance on the tests. Perhaps a leg was injured, or your back or your neck. Any one of those injuries, of course, could have a major impact on your ability to complete the tests properly.

It would be wise to have a doctor check you out and make any necessary diagnoses of injuries. That can add substantial weight to any claims that you looked bad on the tests because of physical injury, not because you were drunk or on drugs.

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