Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test
Nystagmus is a medical term used to describe an involuntary twitching of the eye, which may be brought on by alcohol consumption. When a person is intoxicated, their eyes may move irregularly or twitch when prompted to follow a specific object, which is why the HGN test is included as a standardized roadside DUI test. There are many ways for this test to result in false positive results, however, and the findings of such a subjective test should never be considered reliable evidence in a case. Any experienced DUI defense lawyer will know the problems cause by Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus tests and will be able to protect a client from wrongful conviction based on the results of this standardized test.
Police are supposed to use roadside tests to establish probable cause to arrest a person and test their blood alcohol content. The results of these tests are highly unreliable, and though they can sometimes show if a person is intoxicated, many completely sober people would have trouble passing all the tests usually administered by a police officer. In addition, if you have been pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, an officer will only be looking for signs that you are guilty, not innocent, and it is easy to either notice smaller things that don’t have any meaning, or to see things that aren’t truly there simply because you are looking so hard for them. It is vital that an officer be properly trained in DUI/OWI testing and know not to use these results as evidence in a drunk driving case, and hiring an accomplished lawyer will help you ensure that the details of your arrest are thoroughly reviewed for any issues.
For over 10 years, Grabel & Associates has been fighting for Michigan’s accused statewide, and we are dedicated to fighting for justice for anyone who has been falsely accused of drinking and driving. Our team understands what a huge problem drunk driving is, which is why we want to make sure the right people end up in jail and innocent people remain out on the roads, which can hopefully be made safer by reeducating drivers who have made mistakes and keeping the most dangerous offenders off the road. We know what it takes to demonstrate why the allegations you face are false, and will utilize powerful negotiation, sound reasoning, expert testimony, and DUI-case knowledge to help you achieve the best available case result. Contact our firm now and learn more about field sobriety tests and fighting a DUI arrest in Michigan.
What is a Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test?
During a Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, an officer is supposed to instruct the suspect to stand with his or her feet together and arms put to the side before telling the suspect to follow the movements of an object with his or her eyes. Usually, the officer will use a finger, pen, or flashlight, and make sure the suspect understands what is being asked before moving on in the test.
The officer should then check the movement of the eyes from side to side and up and down, seeking out signs that a person could be intoxicated. There are three main things that an officer looks for in an HGN test:
- Lack of smooth pursuit of the eyes when attempting to follow the object
- Nystagmus at maximum deviation from the center
- Nystagmus that begins before a 45-degree point has been reached.
The officer will also observe pupil size before and after the test, ability to balance while standing still, jerking of the eyes or overly quick movement to the side, and other qualities that could be affected by alcohol. This test can provide a great basic tool for police who need to establish probable cause, though there have been way too many cases in which the test results have been used as evidence in a case, and it is critical to work with a lawyer who can point out issues with the test and the way in which it was administrated in your case so that you are not convicted based off of such an unreliable examination.
Our Approach to Standardized DUI Field Tests
At Grabel & Associates, our lawyers are committed to seeking justice for anyone falsely accused of a crime in Michigan. If your rights have been violated during a drunk driving investigation, our team will expose the errors made and use this to help you achieve a favorable case result. If certain procedural errors were made, our attorneys and expert witnesses will demonstrate why this has affected the reliability of the results. We know how to prove your innocence, reach a favorable plea deal, or have your case completely dismissed, and will walk you through what options are available to you after thoroughly reviewing every detail of your case.