The Unreliability of Slurred Speech as an Indicator of Intoxication

Monday, October 20th, 2014

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Tacoma DUI lawyerA typical sign of drunkenness is slurred speech. However, studies show that slurred words could be subjective and based on the perception of the listener. Our Tacoma DUI lawyer believes that this could give a police officer an undue bias against a DUI suspect.

An Overview of Slurred Speech Tests by Our Tacoma DUI Attorney

One study asked speakers to demonstrate speech in three situations: to set a baseline level, when the person was not drinking at all and at four increasingly high blood-alcohol-content levels. These individuals demonstrated great differences in speech as their intoxication level increased. However, the speech of some of the individuals did not change at all. Our Tacoma DUI lawyer can explain how these impressions might affect a police officer who already believed someone was intoxicated.

A Review of the Unreliability of Slurred Speech

Some of the study participants were hired actors who spoke while pretending to be drunk, spoke when actually inebriated and tried to sound sober even when drinking. If the actor faked intoxication, the listener could not tell they were acting and perceived them as drunk. In other cases, the listener did not rate someone as intoxicated when they were indeed drunk. Our Tacoma DUI attorney can explain how the ramifications of this study could affect you.

Another Test on Slurred Speech

In another test, the speaker read the same sentence, once when sober and once while drunk. Two groups of listeners were recruited for the test: a general group and a group of state troopers along with college students. If the BAC level was low, there was little, if any, difference in the results of the tests. In addition, the researchers cautioned against jumping to conclusions about a person’s sobriety based on recordings. Our Tacoma DUI lawyer might be able to challenge an officer’s assumptions about your sobriety level based on slurred words.

Call Our Tacoma DUI Lawyer about Your Case

If you think that the authorities might have misjudged your level of intoxication based on your speech, you could benefit from the services of a Tacoma DUI lawyer. To get help, call Greene & Lloyd, PLLC at (253) 770-0808.


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