Attacking claims of slurred speech and flushed face

Last Modified: August 10, 2023

Attacking claims of slurred speech and flushed face

Dealing with slurred speech as a sign of Impairment

If the arresting officer claims that your speech was slurred at the night of the arrest, your attorney might take a very indirect approach to dealing with this claim.

The arresting officer is not going to concede that your speech was normal if the officer already said that your speech was slurred. Therefore, your attorney will probably avoid directly questioning the police officer on the area of slurred speech.

Instead, your attorney may ask the officer throughout the cross-examination the responses you gave to the many questions that were posed by the officer. Then during closing argument your attorney can make the point that your speech could not have been all that slurred because the officer apparently understood all of your answers to the many questions that were asked.

Another approach is through friends who were with you during the night of the arrest. People in the car at the time of the driving, or people who spoke with you just before you drove will have contemporaneous knowledge of how your speech sounded.

Finally, another source of evidence about whether or not your speech was slurred is a person whom you called from jail. If there was a telephone answering machine or voice mail recording of your call from jail, this could provide objective evidence of your speech.

Dealing with a flushed face as a sign of drunkenness

There are many innocuous reasons for having a rosy complexion. The most obvious situation is that you might normally have a ruddy facial appearance.

Even if you do not normally have a ruddy complexion there are still many other reasons for having a flushed face. For example:

  • Sunburn reddens skin.
  • Some women add blush as part of their makeup.
  • Many people who are embarrassed, angry, afraid or nervous may experience a flushed face. Nighttime contact with the police can easily produce one of these reactions. Most motorists are upset, frustrated, and nervous when confronted by a law enforcement officer. A natural and immediate reaction is a quick flow of blood to the face, causing a reddish appearance.

Also, your attorney may watch to see whether the police officer ever becomes embarrassed about something during the cross examination. For example, if the officer misspells a word on a diagram, or forgets the prosecutor’s name, the officer may be embarrassed and experience a flushed face due to the stress of the embarrassment. If that occurs, it is the perfect time for your attorney to ask the officer about why perfectly sober people can experience a flushed face.

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