Fairfax Virginia DUI Defense: Virginia Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test

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A Fairfax VA DUI defense can be very complicated, for example, The National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) recognizes three standardized field sobriety tests. One of these is the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus. When Virginia police ask you to perform this field sobriety test, they will be looking for any involuntary jerking of the eyes, which the police and NHTSA maintain is caused from alcohol consumption.

Nystagmus can occur naturally when your eyes look to the sides at high peripheral angles, and can be induced by conducting the test incorrectly. NHTSA maintains when a person is above a .10 BAC that nystagmus will occur at lesser angles and appear more exaggerated. Also, the person may have more difficulty following a moving object smoothly.

During the HGN test, the officer will have you follow an object such as a pen or his finger as he moves the object horizontally before your eyes. The officer is looking for three clues: a lack of smooth pursuit when following the object; any jerking occurring when the eye is looking at the furthest angle; and jerking prior to the onset of a 45 degree angle. If the officer notices four of these clues occurring between the two eyes, the police assume that your blood alcohol content is over Virginia’s limit of .08. NHTSA maintains that the HGN test is also a way for officers to test for any depressants, barbiturates, or the consumption of any seizure medications.

Many courts do not accept evidence of the HGN field sobriety test or the implications that it is intended to give. Remember, “failing” your HGN test does not mean a DUI conviction.

Fairfax Virginia DUI Defense

Fairfax Virginia DUI Defense

Fairfax Virginia DUI Defense

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