Police look for some telltale signs of intoxication when they pull drivers over in Tennessee. They look for bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and the smell of alcohol as soon as they approach your car. If they conduct field sobriety tests, they watch for confusion, loss of balance and difficulty concentrating or performing simultaneous tasks.
Should an officer identify these signs, he or she can arrest a driver for suspected drunk driving. However, these methods of assessing intoxication are imperfect; in fact, police can mistake many conditions for drunkenness.
- Fatigue: Tired drivers can appear drunk. They often have bloodshot eyes and difficulty concentrating. Their reflexes can be delayed and they may be more prone to making bad decisions.
- Ataxia: People with this genetic disorder often seem drunk because the illness results in loss of coordination and slurred speech. Eye movements can also be affected.
- Allergies: At first glance, a person with pet or seasonal allergies can exhibit the same red, watery eyes and flushed cheeks that alcohol can cause.
- Diabetes: As noted in this article, certain diabetes symptoms can look like intoxication, from combativeness to the smell of alcohol on a person’s breath.
People who suffer from these conditions can appear drunk, even when they are not.
What we hope people take away from this post is the understanding that police can and do look for any sign of intoxication, even if it is a symptom of something else, which can allow them to request additional tests and potentially make an arrest.
Because of this, everything from police interactions to the administration of field sobriety tests should be closely examined, and any indications that police violated a person’s rights or acted on false assumptions can be critical to a defense strategy.
With all this in mind, we encourage readers who have been charged with a DUI to consult an attorney sooner, rather than later. Doing so can help you identify weaknesses in the case against you and fight to protect your driving privileges, freedom and criminal record.