Failed A Field Sobriety Test Because You Swayed Too Much But Were Not Drunk? Here's What You Need To Know
If you failed a field sobriety test because you swayed when asked to close your eyes, yet you know beyond any doubt that you were not intoxicated over the legal limit, you may be concerned about what it means and what kind of drunk driving defense is available to you. The part of the field sobriety test that you failed is called the Romberg balance test. Here's what you need to know.
What is the Romberg balance test?
The Romberg balance test is often used as part of a field sobriety test to determine whether or not there is a possibility of intoxication. This is the test in which the law enforcement officer asks you to close your eyes and stand still with your feet together for approximately 30 seconds. The officer then watches to see if your body sways. If you do sway, it signifies that you have a loss of motor coordination, which can be attributed to intoxication. However, it can also mean that you have an impaired function of your nervous system.
What could cause a failed Romberg balance test?
The Romberg test is often used by professionals in the medical field, particularly neurosurgeons and neurologists. It tests abnormal proprioception and the loss of coordination it can cause. Proprioception is your body's ability to sense where you are and control your movement when you cannot see. Essentially, when you close your eyes, you are eliminating one of your body's ways of sensing where your body is in relation to your surroundings.
Swaying when your eyes are closed, when you are not intoxicated, can mean there is something medically wrong. Alternatively, you may simply have been dehydrated, particularly if you are chronically dehydrated. Dizziness is one of the signs of dehydration. When you are dizzy, you can easily fail a Romberg balance test.
How can you defend against a failed Romberg balance test?
Of course, since there's a chance of something being wrong with your nervous system, you should see a neurologist for a complete evaluation. Documentation of this examination can help prove that your failed Romberg balance test was the result of a medical condition or was due to chronic dehydration. Be open and honest with your neurologist and ask him or her to write a letter stating that you have balance and proprioception problems if the examination determines that you do. Also, sign a disclosure document to allow your neurologist to speak with your lawyer, if necessary.