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Could your ear infection cause you to fail a field sobriety test?

On Behalf of | Jan 27, 2023 | OWI/DUI/DWI |

The Standardized Field Sobriety Test battery consists of three different tests. Their purpose is to provide a law enforcement officer with just cause to arrest someone suspected of OWI/DUI.

However, a driver could be sober and still fail the tests. There are many reasons for failure. Could your ear infection be one of them?

About the field sobriety tests

The test battery consists of the One-Leg Stand, the Walk and Turn and the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus tests. An impartial law enforcement officer is in charge of administering each test. However, grading is subjective. One officer can give a test score that is different than the score another officer gives.

Roadside issues

Field sobriety tests given to those suspected of operating a vehicle while intoxicated are often performed at night. Consequently, darkness is a factor in trying to take the tests. The area at the side of the road is often uneven, noisy traffic is passing nearby and lights are blinking on the squad car. All that together with the anxiety a driver feels makes taking the battery of tests difficult from the outset.

Health issues

Certain people should not take field sobriety tests at all. These include people aged 65 and older, those who are at least 50 pounds overweight or those who have a physical or mental handicap.  Neurological conditions can cause people to fail the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test. Medications; low blood pressure; back, foot or leg problems; arthritis and your ear infection are among the health issues that can affect balance and make the One-Leg Stand and the Walk and Turn difficult to pass.

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