Horizontal gaze nystagmus results are not always accurate

by | May 15, 2020 | Dui

If you’ve been accused of drunk driving, then you’re probably fearful of what the future might have in store for you. This is understandable, especially given that a drunk driving conviction can result in jail or prison time, significant fines, and damage to your record that can affect your employment, housing, and other aspects of your life. But the good news is that you might have criminal defense options available to you that can help you avoid the harshest of penalties.

One legal route that may be available to you is challenging field sobriety test results. Police officers and prosecutors often rely on these results to make arrests and press charges, but the truth of the matter is that field sobriety tests are often inaccurate.

Take, for example, the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. Here, an officer holds a small object like a pen or a finger mere inches away from your face and directs you to follow it with your eyes without turning your head. The officer then moves the object back and forth looking for signs of intoxication, such as jerking eye movements at certain points, a general lack of smooth pursuit when following the object, and an inability to follow instructions.

Yet, far too often police officers fail to follow standard protocol. They might give poor instructions, move an object too quickly, or hold the object to close to the test subject’s face. A driver might also have a medical condition that accounts for any deviations from a smooth pursuit.

The onus is on you, though, to show why field sobriety tests and other evidence used by the prosecution is unreliable. This means you need to educate yourself, gather evidence, speak to witnesses, and craft legal arguments that are compelling. If you’d like to learn more about how to do that, then consider reaching out to a criminal defense attorney who is experienced in this area of the law.