Understand Your Rights

What the Prosecutor and Arresting Officer Don’t Want You to Know

  • Field sobriety tests, e.g., Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test, Walk & Turn Test, and One Leg Stand Test, must be administered in a standardized manner as established by the National Highway & Transportation Safety Administration. If any of the field sobriety tests are not administered in the proper manner, then the validity of the results are compromised.
  • Field sobriety tests are subjective. A person’s failure of the test is based on the officer’s subjective opinion on how a person is supposed to adequately perform on the tests. The officer may have already made up his mind once he smells an odor of alcohol and it is late at night. Thus, this would adversely affect the officer’s ability to objectively evaluate a person’s performance on the field sobriety tests. In many instances, the officer would simply use the tests to back up his initial opinion that the person was already intoxicated.
  • There are many reasons why a person would not perform well on the field sobriety tests that the officer does not consider when making his opinion that a person is intoxicated. Fatigue, lack of coordination, stress, being overweight, nervousness, non-ideal testing conditions (e.9., sloped area, passing cars, flashing lights) will have a detrimental impact on a person’s performance.
  • Field sobriety tests have little to do with determining a person’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. People are not required to do a walk & turn test or a one leg stand test in order to obtain their driver’s license.
  • The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (“the jerking/bouncing eye test”) is merely “Voodoo” or “Junk” science.
    • Most police officers lack the proper medical training and education to effectively diagnose a person with HGN due to alcohol intoxication.
    • There are over 47 different types of nystagmus unrelated to alcohol intoxication, such as: vestibular nystagmus, physiological nystagmus, optokinetic nystagmus, somatosensory nystagmus, and pathological nystagmus.
    • Moreover, there are many different types of factors that would cause nystagmus other than alcohol intoxication, such as: influenza, streptococcus, vertigo, measles, arteriosclerosis, hypertension, motion sickness, eye strain, glaucoma, eye fatigue, caffeine, nicotine, aspirin, antihistamines, and some prescription drugs and pain medications.
    • Many police officers only have training to simply move a finger back and forth from side to side, and then watch for a person’s eyes to bounce up and down. At the same time, while lacking the medical knowledge and training to effectively exclude all the other 47 different types of nystagmus and the many different factors that can cause nystagmus not attributable to alcohol intoxication.