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Oklahoma DUI Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test

Nystagmus is the involuntary jerking of the eyes and occurs naturally in many people. When an individual is under the influence of alcohol/and or drugs, nystagmus can become more pronounced. As a result, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) created the horizontal gaze nystagmus test for evaluating possible intoxication during the course of a DUI arrest.

Administering the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus

To administer this test, the officer will ask you to stand still with your heard forward while following a small stimulus, such as a pen or penlight, with your eyes. The officer will then hold the object approximately 12 to 15 inches in front of you and move it from side to side while looking for signs of inebriation.

There are three signs during the horizontal gaze nystagmus test that can be used as evidence of intoxication, including: the onset of nystagmus before the eyes reach a 45 degree angle, nystagmus when the eyes are all the way to the side, and lack of smooth pursuit with the eyes. If you exhibit two or more of these conditions, the officer can place you under arrest.

Intoxication Is Not the Only Cause of Nystagmus

Nystagmus can be caused by a number of physical or neurological conditions, most commonly disorders of the brain or inner ear. Flu, aspirin and caffeine have been noted as causes of nystagmus. Police officers are not trained to detect the difference between nystagmus caused by alcohol, environmental or a medical problem, resulting in incorrect test scores.

If you are facing a DUI after failing any of the field sobriety tests, the legal team at the Edge Law Firm has the training and background necessary to create a solid defense in your case. Call our office at (877) DUI-EDGE or (918) 582-6333 or fill out our online contact form today for a no-obligation case evaluation.

Oklahoma DUI Laws