Slurred Speech as Evidence of Intoxication

Posted on August 14, 2014

Evidence of Intoxication

According to a Redwood City DUI law firm, slurred speech is one of several signs traditionally used as an indicator of intoxication. This may change due to research that shows determining whether or not a person’s speech is slurred might be more subjective than previously thought.

As part of a study on the subject of slurred speech as an indicator of alcohol intoxication, participants were asked to speak several times: while learning something, while sober and at four different blood alcohol concentrations, or BAC levels. It is worth noting that the participants displayed noticeable changes in speech as their BAC levels increased. This should not be considered a universal trait, however, since around 20 percent of participants displayed no changes in speech.

In addition, researchers looked at whether listeners could distinguish between statements made while intoxicated and statements made while sober. Actors were asked to simulate various levels of alcohol intoxication. They were also asked to speak while intoxicated and to try and sound sober while at the highest blood-alcohol level, says a DUI attorney in Redwood City.

Listeners judged actors to be intoxicated when they were sober and imitating drunkenness 88 percent more often than when the actors were speaking while actually intoxicated. In a second study, the actors were deemed to be less inebriated than they actually were by 61 percent.

In a third study, researchers recorded male participants speaking while both intoxicated and sober. Participants were asked to listen to the same sentence spoken twice and identify when the person speaking was intoxicated. College undergraduates and Indiana State Troopers were asked to determine if the sentences were spoken by an intoxicated or sober speaker. In this study, the researchers concluded that there are definite changes in speech patterns when speakers become intoxicated.

It is important to note that there is disagreement between researchers that slurred speech can be considered evidence that a person is intoxicated, particularly at low BAC levels. A DUI attorney in Redwood City may argue that a police officer’s determination that a defendant was intoxicated based on indicators such as slurred speech is too subjective to be used as evidence.

If you are facing DUI charges, you may want to speak to a lawyer with a Redwood City DUI law firm. A DUI attorney in Redwood City may look at your case to see if law enforcement used subjective evidence such as slurred speech or red, watery eyes to support the charge against you. Call the offices of Silveira Law at (415) 795-3890 to make a confidential appointment.