It was late when you left your colleague’s retirement party at a downtown restaurant and began the drive home to Encinitas.

On the way, law enforcement stopped you on suspicion of drunk driving and asked you to take a field sobriety test. You were not able to perform the one-leg stand correctly due to sciatica and therefore failed the test.

However, a blood test ultimately showed your blood alcohol content was below the legal limit. The shooting pain in your back made may have inadvertently caused you to occasionally weave, effectively giving off the appearance of driving while intoxicated.

This is just one example of how factors outside of your BAC can influence the result of a field sobriety test.

Types of field sobriety testing

There are three different types of field sobriety tests: One-Leg Stand, Walk-and-Turn and Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus.

Keep in mind that testing is subjective. Furthermore, drivers with certain conditions such as circulation, nerve, foot or leg problems; spinal issues such as a herniated disk; head injuries; low blood pressure or ear infections may fail the tests. 

Penalties for DUI

A first offense for driving under the influence of alcohol is usually a misdemeanor. The penalties you face may receive could include a fine of at least $390, participation in a DUI program, a suspension of your driving privileges of up to a year and even the possibility of time behind bars. 

An aggressive defense strategy will include a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding your arrest, including the decision of the officer to give you the field sobriety test. This will give you the best possible chance to protect your rights and freedom.