• July 1, 2013
  • DUI

Your Graham DUI defense attorney knows that many people think an individual who has slurred speech is likely to be heavily intoxicated. Slurred speech is often reported by law enforcement as evidence of being under the influence. But a Graham DUI defense lawyer will tell you that slurred speech is not nearly as reliable as people think, and is very subjective.

Recent Study

Graham DUI defense attorneyOne recent study tested how speech is affected by alcohol intoxication. Subjects of differing drinking habits (light, moderate, and heavy) were asked to speak when sober and at varying levels of blood alcohol concentration in order to evaluate how much their speech changed as intoxication increased. Most of the subjects displayed significant changes with increased alcohol, but about 20% of the subjects exhibited no (or negative) effects, so the effects on speech are not universal. Your Graham DUI defense lawyer will be familiar with this phenomenon.

Researchers also tested simulated sober or intoxicated speech to see if listeners could accurately who was genuinely drunk versus those who were faking. As a Graham DUI defense attorney can tell you, actors gave several controlled utterances, pretending to be under the effects of alcohol, or pretending to be sober while really having a high BAC. Listeners rated those pretending to be drunk as more intoxicated than those who actually were, and in a similar study, listeners judged the actors as less intoxicated than they were the majority of the time. Studies like these are useful for your Graham DUI defense attorney to argue the officer’s description of your intoxication.


Some evidence indicates that there are definite changes in speech articulation between drunk and sober individuals, but not all researchers agree, as your Graham DUI defense lawyer can tell you. One study did a statistical analysis of speech parameters, and found that such analysis for intoxication was “inexpedient.” Your Graham Dui defense attorney should be able to use the uncertainty over slurred speech if that is a part of the prosecution’s case.

For Legal Assistance

For more information about slurred speech and how it affects your DUI defense, contact a Graham DUI defense attorney at Greene & Lloyd PLLC. Call (253) 770-0808.