DUI: Injuries, disabilities & illnesses

Posted by William H. Sherman on Sep 28, 2015 | 0 Comments

Question:    I got a DUI in Cherokee County over the weekend.  I took all the tests the Cherokee cop asked of me but I didn't do that well on the field sobriety tests because I have had a broken back from the Army, a sprained neck from falling off a roof 3 months ago and I'm battling some hemorrhoids at the moment.  So while I don't think I was really drunk or even truly buzzed, I can't look great on the field sobriety tests.  I almost fell and I stumbled twice.

I got stopped by the cop for making an illegal turn, or so he says.  I might have taken an illegal turn but I really just don't remember.  I did have some drinks, but just 3 beers.  They were high gravity brews. 

I got stopped going back to work in Alpharetta.  We had lunch with a client in Cherokee, in Woodstock.  When I was driving back to our main office in North Fulton, I got snagged.  The cop said he could smell alcohol.  I did everything he wanted.  I even took two different breath tests. 

Because I wasn't that drunk, I should have done pretty well on the field sobriety tests.  Before the Army and the roof incident I would have done great.  I played golf in college.  But now, on top of all that, I'm dealing with hemorrhoids.

What should I do?

R.G. in Atlanta, GA

Answer:    We get this type of question frequently.  Many people are afflicted with injuries, disabilities and illnesses.  In fact, 1 in 5 Americans has a disability, according to the United States Census Bureau.  The DUI field sobriety tests were designed for individuals in good health, with no major physical ailments.

What you need to do is obtain documentation of your injuries and your medical condition.  Certainly, no one would expect a person who is recovering from, or has had, a broken back to be able to perform without issue on a field sobriety test.  That is true as well for a person with a sprained neck.  And hemorrhoids can cause great pain and discomfort, which can interfere with tests of dexterity.

Documentation should be from your doctor and it should provide a diagnosis of the conditions.  It should be written clearly so that it can be easily understood by the prosecutor and judge.  You need to explain that your poor performance on the tests was not due to drinking, but rather was caused by physical ailments. 

If you are taking any medications for your medical issues, those should be mentioned as well.  However, be careful because you can get a DUI on prescription medication.  In fact, a DUI charge due to the use of pain medication is common.  And mixing alcohol with prescription medication can cause someone to be a less safe driver.  

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William H. Sherman

With a professional background that includes serving as a Senior Assistant County Attorney and as an Assistant Attorney General, attorney William H. Sherman has great experience, a broad range of legal knowledge and a proven record of success.  Each of Mr. Sherman's clients gets the full benefit of his experience.  Because attorney Sherman has worked for governmental organizations, large corporations and clerked for a judge, he has handled a wide variety of cases from negotiation and trial to successful appeal. Mr. Sherman is very proud of his reputation as a problem-solver who is always available to his clients.  Active in the community, Mr. Sherman and his wife, attorney Valerie Sherman, support many community organizations, sports teams and charities.  Call him now and let his experience work for you.

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