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How can a head injury make you seem drunk?

| Nov 18, 2022 | DWI Defense |

You should not have to suffer the consequences of a DWI conviction if you do not have a high blood alcohol level at the time police pull you over. The problem for some drivers is that they experience symptoms that mimic the effects of drunkenness. This could happen if you sustained a head injury at some time in the past.

Head injuries vary in intensity, so depending on your situation, you may have only suffered a minor concussion. However, Johns Hopkins Medicine points out that even mild head trauma can cause noticeable symptoms.

Trouble keeping balance

Police officers usually test drivers for DWI through a walk-and-turn test. This test requires you to walk in a straight line and then turn and walk back the same way. While a person with a high blood alcohol level may have problems keeping a balance, a head injury can also cause balance issues, perhaps due to dizziness and lightheadedness.

Reduced energy level

Given that alcohol can cause fatigue, you should know if your head injury will make you feel exhausted throughout the day, even behind the wheel. Head trauma can result in noticeably “tired” eyes or low energy, which a police officer could conclude was the result of too many beers.

Behavior changes

Suffering a head injury can also make you behave in ways that might make you appear inebriated. You could experience moments of confusion. Concentrating can become harder. You may also feel irritated or depressed, which could show up in your interactions with a police officer.

Law enforcement should take your health into consideration when levying DWI charges. While your medical condition may serve as a defense, keep in mind that other factors such as an erroneous breath test could invalidate a case against you.