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Medical Defenses to SFSTs

Almost all Georgia DUI suspects are asked to submit to a series of sobriety test known as the Standardized Field Sobriety Test, or SFST. This series of three tests was designed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to determine whether or not a person is intoxicated. As more and more experts are beginning to question the reliability of these tests for this purpose, Statesboro DUI lawyer Matt Hube wants you to be aware of several defenses that can be used against your SFST results.

When the NHTSA first developed these tests in the 1970s, scientists used specialized equipment to measure precise movements in a control group that was not known to have any health or body issues. None of the individuals in the control group were overweight; elderly; or had any prior history of neck, back, hip, ankle, knee or head trauma.

Head Trauma

As any football player can tell you, the consequences of a concussion or other head trauma can last a lifetime. Dizziness and loss of balance can plague you at any time. If you are able to provide medical records that prove your past head trauma, we can use that evidence in court to explain your performance on the SFST.

Leg Injuries

Two of the three Standardized Field Sobriety Tests involve use of your legs. For those individuals with persistent pain in their hips, knees, or ankles, it can be difficult to perform the “Walk and Turn” test as well as the “One Leg Stand.” Even if an officer tells you to stand on your “good” leg, holding the injured leg up for any amount of time can be just as challenging.

Core Body Issues

Back and neck injuries can also make the SFSTs harder. It is awkward enough to walk heel-to-toe as requested in the “Walk and Turn” test, and back pain only exacerbates it. Back and neck pain can also affect one’s balance, since one side of the body has to compensate for the other side, making you perform poorly on the two physical field sobriety tests.

Further, certain body types have a harder time passing the SFSTs than others. Individuals who are 50 pounds or more overweight are not as able to balance as easily as the physically fit; for this reason, the NHTSA has conceded that the SFST was not designed for the overweight. The police, however, have consistently ignored this advice.

If you have any of the above (or similar) medical conditions, and have submitted to a field sobriety test, call attorney Matt Hube today. Statesboro DUI lawyer Matt Hube will explain to a judge or jury how your injuries affected your performance.