One Leg Stand Test Not Always a Good Measure of Intoxication

Last week this Wisconsin DUI defense law blog discussed some ways that nystagmus can affect a driver's performance on a field sobriety test. This week this blog will look at another of the common sobriety tests that a driver may face if the person is stopped for suspected drunk driving -- the one-leg stand. Just as a driver's ability to pass the horizontal gaze nystagmus can be impacted by the presence of a medical condition, so too can a medical problem impact a person's ability to pass the one-leg stand balance test.

There are many physical ailments and conditions that can cause individuals to suffer from balance problems and thus challenge his performance on a one-legged stand. For example, chronic dizziness can throw off a person's ability to hold a balance-challenging pose. Dizziness can include sensations of faintness, vertigo, lightheadedness and vision problems.

The presence of an inner ear condition can also affect a person's ability to balance. When the systems and fluids of the inner ear become inflamed by infection or injury a person can suffer from debilitating balance issues. Even some medications that individuals take to treat medical conditions can cause balance and dizziness problems in individuals taking them.

There are many medical conditions that can have negative impacts on a person's balance and coordination. It is an unfortunate possibility that in some situations people suffering from these disorders can be stopped for drunk driving when in fact they have not consumed any alcohol.

Though the information contained in this blog is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical conditions, it is provided to help readers understand that field sobriety tests like the one-legged stand can be affected by the presence of certain medical ailments and not actual intoxication.