A common practice of law enforcement officers conducting DUI stops is to ask the driver to perform roadside field sobriety tests. It is important to remember these tests are not mandatory—you have the right to refuse any roadside sobriety test a law enforcement officer asks you to take.
Only three roadside sobriety tests are recognized as scientifically valid by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the one-leg stand test and the walk-and-turn test.
Of these three, the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test is the only roadside sobriety test that the state of Tennessee recognizes as scientific. During this test, the officer may ask you to follow an object, such as a pen, with your eyes. The officer will observe the movement of your eyes as you follow the object, looking for nystagmus. Because the horizontal gaze nystagmus test is scientific, an experience and well-trained DUI defense attorney may be able to keep the results of this test from being introduced into evidence against you.
Nystagmus refers to the involuntary jerking of the eye, which can be an indication of intoxication. However, there are myriad other conditions that may cause nystagmus, including the presence of an artificial eye, damaged or weak vision in one eye, irritants such as dust, rain or wind, and other roadway distractions such as traffic or bright lights.
As with all field sobriety tests, the horizontal gaze nystagmus test is administered as a means to obtain probable cause for your arrest. When administering this test, the officer will observe the movement of your head and the swaying of your body. The officer also will be monitoring everything you say, looking for any reason to justify your arrest. Do not leave the erroneous interpretation of a scientific test by an unqualified person to be introduced into evidence against you. Seek the expert advice of qualified and experienced DUI defense attorney as soon as possible.
Marcos Garza is a reputable DUI attorney who is based in Knoxville. Mr. Garza is knowledgeable in all aspects of DUI law, including field sobriety testing methods. If you are facing a DUI charge in the state of Tennessee, don’t leave your case to chance—call the Garza Law Firm and schedule a free consultation to review the details of your case.
Put our experience to work for you—call (888) 680-7554 today to schedule your free consultation.