Challenging the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests
Did the Officer Conduct A Pre-Test Medical Check? Prior to the administration of the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test, an officer is required to examine a subject’s eyes to assess for possible medical impairment. (NHTSA Student Manual, 2006 ed. VIII-5) The examining officer should look at
- Pupil size;
- Resting Nystagmus;
- Tracking Ability
If any of these are present they should be noted and the test should be aborted.
Resting Nystagmus is “referred to as a jerking of the eyes as they look straight ahead. (NHTSA Student Manual, 2006 ed., VIII-4) Officers are trained that if they see resting nystagmus “[i]ts presence usually indicates a pathology or high doses of a Dissociative Anesthetic drug such as PCP.” (NHTSA Student Manual, 2006 ed., VIII-4) Officers are also trained that if the eyes cannot track equally or if the pupils are noticeably unequal in size, “the chance of medical disorders or injuries causing the nystagmus is present.” (NHTSA Student Manual, 2006 ed., VIII-5)
The check for equal tracking, pupil size and resting nystagmus is incorporated into the officer’s training and is part of the test. The training manual includes this medical pre-check as part4 of the “Administrative Procedures” of giving the test. (NHTSA Student Manual, 2006 ed., VIII-7)
Dayton DUI Attorney Charles M. Rowland II is trained to administer and evaluate the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, completing the same training that is given to law enforcement. If you find yourself facing an Ohio DUI arrest, contact Charles Rowland immediately at 937-318-1DUI (318-1384), 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263) or visit www.DaytonDUI.com.
- Rowland Earns Forensic Sobriety Assessment Certification (daytondui.com)
- Standardized Field Sobriety Tests: What to Expect (daytondui.com)
- Unintended Consequences of an Ohio DUI Charge (daytondui.com)