Question: What are some defenses you have used against the one-leg stand field sobriety test in Maryland?
Answer: Well, the one-leg stand requires you to stand on one leg of your choosing and to elevate the other leg roughly 12 inches off the ground, pointing your toe out forward, looking at your toe with your arm and hands by their side and counting to 30—although the officer will not tell you you’re counting to 30, he’ll just tell you to start counting. Oftentimes, people find this difficult and the reason for this, at least in my experience, is with people with bad backs.
If you have a herniated disc in your back, if you have radiating pain, if you’ve been in an accident or a workers comp scenario in your life and are therefore standing on one leg can put a lot of pressure on your lower back, and it may be very difficult to stand there for a count of 30; it may be very painful to count to 30, or you may not be able to elevate your leg off the ground and hold it there for 30 seconds, all because of a herniated disc issue, which most people have some form of degenerative disc or herniated disc in their lower back if they are, say 35 to 40 years old or more, or have been involved in any type of accident scenario.
Other scenarios that can affect that would be inner ear problems or balancing issues. Things like this can certainly impact one’s ability to stand on one leg. If one is overweight, if one is older, all these things can impact and would impact one’s ability to stand on one leg for 30 seconds. And there are a variety of other reasons why a person may have difficulty doing that on a case-by-case basis we’ll look at that.