You hurt your back at work.  It didn’t stop you from going to your boss’s birthday party, but you only had two beers  and then the police stopped you for speeding.  You really were okay to drive, but you had trouble with the field sobriety tests, so you got arrested for DUI.

Can your back injury affect the tests?  Drivers are generally asked to perform the walk-and-turn and the one-legged stand field sobriety tests.  Will it matter to a judge at trial that you suffer from a back injury or just  a long-term issue such as scoliosis?  Is that a defense?

First, it is much more likely to make a difference if you mentioned the back pain to the arresting officer.  For most cases, the police will have a video of your arrest. If your comments about back trouble are on the video, a judge may be more inclined to believe that you had a legitimate reason for struggling with the tests.

But what if you did not mention back trouble at the time of the arrest?  You might still be able to convince a judge if you can present medical records or witnesses who can confirm you were having problems.

Bear in mind, though, that every judge comes with a unique set of predispositions, and the exact same evidence can lead to completely different findings in front of different judges.  An attorney who is familiar with the judges in your particular courthouse may be best able to present your case in its most favorable light.

If you have questions about DUI or a similar offense, contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email


About mdkeenan

A criminal and school law attorney with over 17 years of experience, I have successfully represented clients all over the Chicago area. My practice includes DUI, felony, criminal, misdemeanor, homicide, internet crime, retail theft, traffic offenses, cyberstalking, drug crimes, weapons violations, domestic battery and juvenile crime. I also represent families involving school cases. My clients come from all over the Chicago area including Skokie, Wilmette, Niles, Northbrook, Glenview, Evanston, Winnetka, Highland park, Northfield, Park Ridge, Des Plaines and Mount Prospect. I am a member of the ACLU and the Illinois State Bar Association. I serve as a volunteer for First Defense Legal Aid. Se habla espanol.
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