How COVID-19 Can Land You in Jail with a DUI

According to the NHTSA, Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) is the most accurate standardized field sobriety testing (SFST).  The drug, hydroxychloroquine sulfate, that is being given to treat the new Coronoavrius COVID-19 can cause an inaccurate HGN test, which can lead to a driving under the influence (DUI) charge. This means that you could be driving at any time during the day, never had any drugs or alcohol, and get a DUI!

The COVID-19 treatment drug can impact the nystagmus reactions in your central nervous system. 

In the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, the officer asks a DUI suspect to follow the tip of a pen, and the officer looks for a jerking movement of the eye.  When someone has been drinking, the muscles in the eye become more relaxed, which causes an involuntary jerking movement when a DUI suspect attempts to look sideways.

The DUI Attorney has a great video explaining how the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test is conducted during a field sobriety test. Please click here to see our video.

The new medication to treat COVID-19 can cause muscle weakness that can impact balance, which can result in more failed field sobriety tests.

Though these adverse reactions do not occur in every patient receiving treatment for COVID-19, they’ve been reported when this drug, hydroxychloroquine sulfate, has been administrated. 

This is not the 1st time we’ve talked about how medications can result in a DUI charge. To learn more, check out our article titled: Over the Counter Meds That Can Get You a DUI. 

The DUI Attorney recommends that you NEVER consent to DUI field sobriety tests. 

You can simply decline to participate in SFSTs.  Nothing in California law requires you to take the tests!  As a condition of having a California driver’s license, you are required to submit to a chemical test — that’s blood, breath or urine. That’s it.

Watch our youtube video on Field Sobriety Tests for more information.

A DUI charge can be scary, especially during this time of uncertainty. By being aware of what drugs you’re taking and the side effects, you can minimize impairment and your chances of landing a drug DUI charge. We urge anyone facing any kind of DUI charge to reach out to The DUI Attorney, Criminal Defense Hero, Attorney Don Hammond for legal representation in the state of California.

The DUI Attorney Don Hammond


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