Can You Fail A Field Sobriety Test If You Have Taken Cold Medicine?

August 5, 2021

Can You Fail A Field Sobriety Test If You Have Taken Cold Medicine?

Being pulled over for driving under the influence is quite unsettling especially if you have not taken something to inebriate you. However, if police officers on patrol believe that you were driving while impaired or have been under the influence, you might be forcefully asked to take a field sobriety test.

However, if you are pulled over under a similar charge, you can politely refuse the field sobriety test and ask for your BAC, or blood alcohol content, to be assessed.

There have been instances where individuals failed the field sobriety test since they had taken over the counter cold medication. In this blog, we have addressed the concern over failing a field sobriety test if you have consumed cold medication.

Can Cold Medication Cause A Discrepancy In A Field Sobriety Test?

Over the counter cold medication can have a major impact on your body. Most cold medicines can cause sleepiness, loss of balance and control, and difficulty concentrating, and more.

Hence, operating a vehicle under such conditions can make the authorities suspect that you were driving under the influence. OTC and prescription drugs can make you unbalanced or make it difficult for you to obey the officer’s directives. This, when combined with the anxiety of engaging with a police officer can make it difficult to keep yourself calm. As a result, many individuals fail field testing.

What Drugs Can Result In A Failed Field Sobriety Test?

Some of the common drugs that have been known to cause drivers to fail a field sobriety test are:

  • Anti-cough medicine
  • Cold and flu medications
  • Inhalers containing albuterol (a medication used to treat asthma)
  • Muscle relaxant drugs
  • Medications to treat anxiety
  • Medicines for treating ADD/ADHD
  • OTC sleeping medications

Sometimes, individuals fail a field sobriety test if they have one of the following medical conditions.

  • Lazy eye (amblyopia or strabismus)
  • Trauma to the brain
  • Inner ear problems, like Meniere’s Disease or ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Deafness or muteness
  • Arthritis and other joint or bone injuries that impair balance

Either way, if something prohibits you from acting normally or acting according to how the officers direct you, you will end up failing the field sobriety test.

How To Deal With This Situation?

If you are pulled over for driving under the influence or driving while impaired, the first thing you have to do is keep calm. Losing your senses and getting anxious will only make the officers believe that you are under the influence.

If you have taken cold medication and have to drive for some reason, it is best to keep a prescription with you. Even if you are taking over the counter medication, it is best to ask a physician to write you a prescription before you head out on the road.

However, if you don’t have a prescription and have taken cold medication, you can convey this to the officer politely. If you fail the field sobriety test, you will be taken to the nearest station. There, you can ask for your BAC, or blood alcohol content, to be assessed.

In most cases, the results are received within an hour. During this time, you will not be allowed to leave the premises of the station. However, once the test results are in, you will be allowed to leave.

In case the situation gets complicated, it is better to call your attorney and let him/her do the talking.

Call A Lawyer

If you have been arrested for drunk driving, it is time to call a lawyer. A drunk driving conviction can be exacerbated by a combination of medications and medical issues. However, it might be difficult to face the situation without professional help.

If you believe you have been convicted for taking over-the-counter medicine or a health condition, you have the right to refute the charges against you.

Slaferek Lawyers are highly proficient at strategizing effective expungement petitions and have ample experience in dealing with DUI. Our experts create strategies that can lead to case dismissal, reduced charges, reduced penalties, and more. To get in touch with us today, click here.

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Contacting Darin H. Slaferek

We specialize in criminal law, delivering ethical, effective, and efficient legal solutions that prioritize the best interests of our clients.