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What is a nystagmus?

On Behalf of | Aug 17, 2017 | Criminal Defense

If you are a licensed driver in Kentucky, it is not only important for you to know the basic rules of the road but to also know a bit about what may happen to you if a law enforcement officer ever stopped you and then suspected you may be driving after consuming alcohol. You cannot simply be arrested immediately as the officer must establish enough evidence to support making a drunk driving arrest. Critical to this are the results of field sobriety tests.

In fact, as FieldSobrietyTests.org explains, that is precisely the point of these tests. Of the three standardized tests used, none are 100-percent accurate nor can they prove that you are intoxicated. One of these tests measures a normal and involuntary bouncing of your eyeballs, called a nystagmus. In this test, you will be asked to follow an object as the officer moves it with your eyes only. You cannot move your head at all.

While your eye goes from one side to the other, the nystagmus will set in. It is said the bouncing is more pronounced if you have been drinking. Certain medical or neurological conditions may factor into when or how much your eyeball jerks which is one problem with this test. The accuracy rate of the horizontal gaze nystagmus is 77 percent.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give residents in Kentucky an overview of the horizontal gaze nystagmus test that may be used in a drunk driving investigation by law enforcement officers.