Wyatt Hardy, PLC

Criminal, Family and Probate Law

Wyatt Hardy, PLC

Criminal, Family and Probate Law


Protecting Clients’ Rights. Working To Solve Problems.

How can medical problems throw off sobriety tests?

On Behalf of | May 3, 2021 | Firm News

If an officer thinks you are driving while under the influence, you may see flashing lights and a siren behind you. These are signs the officer wants you to stop. In addition to administering a breath test, the officer may ask you to perform a field sobriety test like a walk and turn test. However, this test may not produce reliable results.

Many people suffer from health conditions that make it impossible to maintain a strong balance. If you have a medical issue that affects how you walk or balance yourself, you may not pass a sobriety test even though you have no alcohol in your system.

Inner ear problems

According to the Mayo Clinic, some people struggle with balance because they have a problem with their inner ear. The small bones that make up your inner ear help you keep your balance. If you have a vestibular problem, your head could feel heavy or you may have problems keeping balance while walking in dark environments.

Nerve conditions

Issues with your nervous system can also cause problems walking. You may have a neurological condition like Parkinson’s disease. Perhaps you have suffered an injury to your legs that damaged your nerves. This injury might have caused peripheral neuropathy that impedes your ability to make precise movements with your legs.

Joint and muscle disorders

Sometimes the problem may be your joints or muscles. A painful joint in your knees can make it hard to walk properly. Weak muscles can impede your legs from landing your feet on a straight line while taking a walk and turn test. Problems with your joints and muscles may become more pronounced if you also have any vision impairments.


Sometimes the medicine you take may cause balance issues. Common medicines that can impede your balance include anxiety medicines, muscle relaxants, painkillers prescribed by your doctors, or common over-the-counter medication like cough, cold or flu medicines. Taking some medicines might even cause you to register a false positive on a breathalyzer test.