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On Behalf of The Foley Law Firm | February 9, 2022

When a police officer sees signs of an impaired driver, they’ll initiate a traffic stop. They can begin the process of finding out what’s going on after they have the vehicle pulled over. Officers have several tools available that can help them to determine a driver’s impairment level.

The horizontal gaze nystagmus test is one of three tests in the standardized field sobriety test series. Many police departments use these as a preliminary impairment indicator.

What is the horizontal gaze nystagmus test?

This test looks at the movement of the eyes. When a person is sober, the movement of the eyes is smooth. An impaired person will have jerking in the eyes when they look around. Since the movement is involuntary, it’s a good indicator of how impaired a person is, but it isn’t infallible. It’s possible that certain medical conditions could cause jerking of the eyes.

The horizontal gaze nystagmus test requires a person to look at an object the officer is holding or the officer’s finger and follow it from side to side. The officer looks for jerking or bouncing in the eyes while the person is doing this.

Anyone who’s facing drunk driving charges should ensure they explore their defense options right away. You have to think about the criminal charges and the administrative actions that can come with this type of case. Working with an individual who knows about these cases is beneficial because some decisions need to be made swiftly. One of these is what type of defense strategy you’re going to use, which may include calling the method of determining impairment into question.

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