Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test
Chicago DUI Attorney
If you have ever been instructed to perform a
field sobriety test under the suspicion that you were driving under the influence, you may
have been asked to perform the horizontal gaze nystagmus. This roadside
test is designed to assess a driver's vision and/or cognitive alertness.
To administer this test, the suspected drunk driver must be instructed
to look straight ahead, keeping their head still, while they follow an
object—like a pen or a finger—as it moves horizontally, with
only the motion of their eyes. There are three signs of intoxication that
an officer looks for when administering this test, those being lack of
smooth pursuit, distinct jerkiness, and angle of onset.
Three Signs of Intoxication
- The first, lack of smooth pursuit, means that the DUI suspect is unable
to track the object smoothly with their eyes. This might mean that the
individual turns their head slightly to follow the movement of the object
or that their eyes bounce or jerk as they move side to side.
- The second, distinct jerkiness means that an officer will ask the suspect
to track the object as far to the side as their eye allows and to hold
their gaze there for two to three seconds. The officer will then observe
for any distinct jerkiness.
- Finally, the angle of onset technique may be used to observe any jerkiness,
as well. An officer will slowly move the object at a 45-degree diagonal
to assess sobriety.
Although this field sobriety test is considered to be the most reliable
of the three, it is still believed to be only 77% accurate. The officer
must be trained to properly administer this test and to observe and score
it correctly. Otherwise, the results could prove to be invalid. There
are several factors that could contribute to negative scoring when performing
this test, so do not think that just because you have failed a field sobriety
test that you will automatically be convicted of a
Help for Your DUI
Adhering to a field sobriety test that was administered incorrectly could
prove to be detrimental. You may be arrested and charged with a DUI inconsequentially,
and will in turn, face serious
penalties unnecessarily. If you have been charged with a DUI as a result of failing
a field sobriety test, you should contact an attorney immediately. At
the Law Offices of Mitch Furman, our firm can provide you with qualified
assistance and expert legal guidance so that you are not found guilty
of a crime that you have not committed. Do not hesitate to schedule a free
case evaluation today so that you can take a stand against an unwarranted conviction.