The horizontal gaze nystagmus test is one of three field sobriety tests given by police to drivers who they suspect are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. While studies have found that it can help trained authorities determine whether or not a driver is impaired due to intoxication, the test is not fool proof and the result may not be accurate.

Nystagmus is the involuntary movement of the eye – a condition that can limit or reduce vision. The condition, which causes the eyeball to jerk, can be caused by a number of health conditions, including toxicity.

The horizontal gaze nystagmus test takes place at the side of the road after a driver has been pulled over by a police officer. During the test, the officer will hold a flashlight (or a similar object) in front of the driver and ask the driver to follow the moving object. If the officer detects sustained nystagmus at maximum deviation (when the flashlight is in the driver’s peripheral vision) and if the officer detects nystagmus before the eye is looking at a 45-degree angle, there is evidence that the driver may be intoxicated.

It is important to understand that the test is not infallible. The results depend on the environment around the driver, the driver’s health, and the training of the officer. Even if you fail the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, you may not have been driving under the influence – this is why three field sobriety tests are recommended.

If you failed the horizontal gaze nystagmus field sobriety test and were then charged with a DUI, you may wish to speak with an experienced Georgia DUI attorney about your case. Call the Law Office of Scott Miller today to schedule a FREE consultation at 770-408-1001. 

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