DUI Field Sobriety Tests
Myrtle Beach DUI Criminal Defense Lawyers
DUI Field Sobriety Tests
What are the Field Sobriety Tests the Officer will use to build his DUI case against you?
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus
Nystagmus is an involuntary jerking or bouncing of the eyeball that occurs when there is a disturbance of the vestibular (inner ear) system or the oculomotor control of the eye. Horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) refers to a lateral or horizontal jerking when the eye gazes to the side. In the impaired driving context, alcohol consumption or consumption of certain other central nervous system depressants, inhalants or phencyclidine, hinders the ability of the brain to correctly control eye muscles, therefore causing the jerk or bounce associated with HGN. As the degree of impairment becomes greater, the jerking or bouncing, i.e. the nystagmus, becomes more pronounced. This is assessed in the horizontal gaze nystagmus test.
The horizontal gaze nystagmus test is one of three field sobriety tests that comprise the standardized field sobriety test (SFST) battery (the other two tests are the walk-and-turn test and the one-leg-stand test). Scientific evidence establishes that the horizontal gaze nystagmus test is a reliable roadside measure of a person’s impairment due to alcohol or certain other drugs.
The Walk-and-Turn test and One-Leg Stand test are “divided attention” tests that are easily performed by most unimpaired people. They require a suspect to listen to and follow instructions while performing simple physical movements. Impaired persons have difficulty with tasks requiring their attention to be divided between simple mental and physical exercises.
In the Walk-and-Turn test, the subject is directed to take nine steps, heel-to-toe, along a straight line. After taking the steps, the suspect must turn on one foot and return in the same manner in the opposite direction. The examiner looks for eight indicators of impairment: if the suspect cannot keep balance while listening to the instructions, begins before the instructions are finished, stops while walking to regain balance, does not touch heel-to-toe, steps off the line, uses arms to balance, makes an improper turn, or takes an incorrect number of steps.
In the One-Leg Stand test, the suspect is instructed to stand with one foot approximately six inches off the ground and count aloud by thousands (One thousand-one, one thousand-two, etc.) until told to put the foot down. The officer times the subject for 30 seconds. The officer looks for four indicators of impairment, including swaying while balancing, using arms to balance, hopping to maintain balance, and putting the foot down.
If you have been charged with a Myrtle Beach DUI, then you were likely put through DUI Field Sobriety Tests. The officer asked you to step out of the car and perform these tests. You were then charged with DUI and find yourself here today. We realize this is a stressful time in your life and we are ready to defend your Myrtle Beach DUI charge. There are defenses to DUI cases available depending upon your unique factual situation. No DUI charge is the same in Myrtle Beach or Conway. The same officer can pull someone over for DUI in Myrtle Beach and later in Conway, SC for DUI and perform two totally different roadside test methods. Contact Us to discuss your set of facts.
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