The Gaunt | Law Office

More Than 20 Years Of Experience With Criminal Matters

How TBIs can make police think you are driving while intoxicated

On Behalf of | Apr 2, 2024 | Criminal

Traumatic brain injuries are a concern in Indiana, especially when it comes to interactions with law enforcement. For example, TBIs can impair cognitive functions.

This impairment can lead to behaviors that may mimic intoxication, thus resulting in misunderstandings with the police.

The nature of traumatic brain injuries

TBIs occur due to a severe blow or jolt to the head, causing disruption to normal brain function. These injuries vary in severity, ranging from mild concussions to severe brain damage. Symptoms can include confusion, memory problems, impaired judgment and difficulty with coordination and balance.

Cognitive impairments and OWI suspicions

Cognitive impairments can affect communication. They can also impact the ability to follow instructions and understand complex situations. When people with TBI interact with law enforcement, these cognitive deficits may lead to behaviors that appear suspicious. They include slurred speech, confusion and difficulty maintaining balance.

Misinterpretation by law enforcement

Police officers in Indiana undergo training to identify signs of intoxication during traffic stops. However, police officers may misinterpret certain signs of TBI as indicators of alcohol or drug impairment. The lack of awareness may potentially lead to unwarranted arrests or citations.

Legal ramifications and challenges

OWI convictions can have serious consequences, including fines, license suspension and even imprisonment. The process can be even trickier for individuals with cognitive impairments. This further complicates their situation.

There is a need for more education and awareness among law enforcement agencies. Training programs should include information on recognizing the signs of TBIs and differentiating them from signs of intoxication.

By improving education and awareness surrounding TBIs, both law enforcement personnel and the general public can work together to prevent misunderstandings.