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What Is The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test?


When conducting the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test, an officer is looking for a condition of the eyes which they purport to represent evidence of alcohol intoxication. Specifically, if the eyes track a certain object to a certain degree and then flutter, then that’s an indication that alcohol has reached the brain or caused the eyes to flutter.

What Is The Walk-And-Turn Test?

The walk-and-turn test is a heel-to-toe balancing test that is used to identify signs of intoxication. The officer should first demonstrate how they want the test to be performed. It is a subjective test by which the officer is looking to see whether or not the driver performs the test in accordance with the way it was demonstrated. Ultimately, the officer is looking to see whether or not the driver can maintain sufficient balance. If not, then the inference is that the driver has been drinking and is intoxicated.

What Is The Officer Looking For In The One-Leg Stand Test?

The one-leg stand test is similar to the walk-and-turn test. It is a balance test that is conducted if an officer believes that alcohol has affected a person’s brain, muscles, or ability to balance. During the test, the driver is asked to repeat a series of things that are engaged to distract them. Specifically, the driver is asked to hold up one leg while looking at certain objects and responding normally to the officer’s instruction. The test is based on the idea that an intoxicated person cannot focus on more than one thing at a time.

Can A Driver Contact An Attorney Prior To Making A Decision On The Field Sobriety Tests?

A driver absolutely has a right to contact an attorney; that’s a constitutional right, and constitutional rights remain at all times. There is no point at which a person must waive their right to avoid self-incrimination. Since performing field sobriety tests can be incriminating or lead to an arrest, a driver has the right to refuse to perform them.

What Happens If Someone Refuses The Standardized Field Sobriety Tests?

The laws on this vary from state to state. If someone refuses the field sobriety tests in Missouri, their driver’s license will typically be suspended or revoked for one year. They will have a right to a hearing on whether or not the officer was correct, but a refusal can end up affecting a lot of things in a person’s life. It can have drastic effects on privileges that we take for granted, and it can definitely have adverse effects on a person’s livelihood.

What Are Some Personal Health Issues That Can Impact A Standardized Field Sobriety Test?

The body is subject to all types of frailties that can affect performance on field sobriety tests. If a person has a mental disability or is on medication for a mental disability, then their ability to respond to stimuli can be compromised. Similarly, a person’s muscles can be affected by a range of disabilities. Something as simple as not having eaten can affect how someone will perform on the field sobriety tests. Officers often fail to take into consideration the personal health issues that could be impacting a driver’s ability to perform these tests.

For more information on Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (314) 786-3536 today.

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