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Defenses Against Michigan One-leg Stand Test

Question: What are some defenses against the one-leg stand test in a Michigan DUI/OWI case?

Answer: Well, the one-leg stand test is a test that's trying to determine, it's one of the divided attention tests. So it's trying to determine if someone can do counting as well as a physical test of holding a leg six inches off the ground the way they're asking you to hold it. And so, one of the common problems with this test that many of our clients have is that their balance is not great to begin with. With this test as well as the walk-and-turn test, none of us go through and do these when we renew our licenses. So, we don't have a baseline for any of our clients, and so we're assuming that everyone would do perfectly on these tests on a good day with perfect shoes and a good warm-up beforehand, and that assumption is usually wrong.

The older we get, the more our muscles age, and unfortunately holding a leg out or even doing a balancing test with the walk-and-turn test, it requires balance, it requires muscles to be acting the way that they're assuming they will. So some of the defenses have to do with people's medical histories, what kind of problems they may have had both with inner ear issues, head injuries, as well as anything with the back, spine, legs, knees, ankles, and then the type of shoes they're wearing as well. If you're wearing high heels or you're barefoot on pebbles, it's not going to be as easy to do that test as it is with a good pair of athletic shoes.

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