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Can Your Medicine Cabinet Cause You to Fail a Field Sobriety Test?

can your medication cause you to fail a field sobriety test_lockett_blog

Can Your Medicine Cabinet Cause You to Fail a Field Sobriety Test?

The Medications in Your Medicine Cabinet Could Cause Your DUI Arrest

Being pulled over for drunk driving can be nerve-wracking, even when you haven’t been drinking. The officer may treat you harshly or ask you to take a field sobriety test if they believe that you have been driving under the influence of alcohol. When this occurs, it is best to politely decline and ask to take a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) test instead. Why? Field sobriety tests are flawed.

Field sobriety tests are subjective in nature because they rely on the judgement of the officer administering the test. That means that you could pass this test with one officer and fail with another. It’s sometimes simply the luck of the draw. Even worse, basic medications in your medicine cabinet could cause you to fail a field sobriety test even when you’re sober.  In fact, according to a field sobriety test study, more than a third of all drivers who fail their sobriety tests are actually sober at the time of the testing.

When Medications Cause You to Fail Sobriety Test

Medications can cause powerful changes in our body and can often have unintended side effects. Some of these side effects may include drowsiness, loss of coordination or balance, or difficulty concentrating. These side effects can make operating a car a bit more difficult and could cause you to fail a field sobriety test.

The field sobriety test consists of three major tests:

  • One leg stand test
  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus test
  • Walk and turn test

Medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, can cause you to lose your balance, walk uncoordinated, or have difficulty following the officer’s instructions. This, coupled with the anxiety you may feel being pulled over for drunk driving, can cause you to fail your sobriety test, even when you’re sober.

Some of the most common medications that can cause a failed field sobriety test or breathalyzer test include:

  • Cough medications
  • Cold or flu medications, such as NyQuil
  • Albuterol (medication found in inhalers)
  • Prescription painkillers
  • Muscle relaxers
  • Anxiety medications
  • ADHD drugs
  • Sleep aids

In addition to medications, certain medical conditions could cause you to fail your field sobriety test. Some of these medical conditions include:

  • Lazy eye
  • Brain injuries
  • Inner ear problems
  • Hearing or speech impediments
  • Bone or joint injuries
  • Arthritis
  • Obesity

Have You Been Charged with a DUI in Jacksonville?

At Lockett Law, our Jacksonville DUI defense attorneys know that there are numerous medications and medical conditions that could contribute to your DUI arrest. If you believe that your medication or medical condition contributed to your DUI arrest, it is important to know that you can fight these charges. Failing a field sobriety test will make it more difficult to fight DUI charges. However, with an experienced attorney on your side, you can beat your DUI. Call us today at (904) 667-0626 or fill out our confidential contact form. We are ready to fight for you.

Additional Reading

Challenging the Breathalyzer

DUI Appeals