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Enough already of this horizontal gaze nystagmus test: too technical and confusing.

Stick to the breath test, please.

Massachusetts DUI Lawyer

Conventional field sobriety tests are designed to determine whether a driver is under the influence of alcohol by measuring the driver’s balance, coordination, and ability to follow instructions. These tests are based on the theory that someone who is intoxicated will not demonstrate the balance, coordination, and ability to follow directions which is required to pass the tests. This theory is seriously flawed, because there are a litany of other potential causes for “failing” these roadside gymnastics.

In addition to the conventional field sobriety tests, many police officers use the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. This test measures various aspects of involuntary eye movements, by having the DUI suspect follow a stimulus (usually a pen) with his eyes, without moving his head. While it is common knowledge that alcohol consumption can diminish balance, coordination, and the ability to follow directions, the medical phenomenon of nystagmus is outside of the common knowledge of a layperson. Therefore, expert testimony should be required as a condition to the admissibility of HGN related evidence. Massachusetts courts have long required this. See Commonwealth v. Sands, 424 Mass. 184 (1997).

Attorney Brian E. Simoneau
Boston DUI Lawyer

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