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HGN Testing

HGN Testing

- MT, Texas

Answer:

One of the most common tests performed by Austin area police to determine whether someone is driving while intoxicated (DWI) is the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. Studies have shown a correlation between blood alcohol level and the jerky movement of the eyes.

Generally a police officer will have the suspect hold his or head level. The police will ask the suspect to track an object with their eyes. One of the problems with the test from a trial standpoint is that the test is almost never properly captured on video.

Additionally, the police vehicle is parked far enough away to capture on film the suspect’s whole body. The test is generally done with the suspect sideways to the police car so that the car’s lights don’t “interfere” with the test.

At trial the jury sees the officer standing, moving the pen or light sideways. You can’t see the suspect’s eyes. The jury has to depend on the officer (who usually shows up in a shiny uniform) to describe what they saw. Of course the officer going to say he or she saw the clues. This generally benefits the prosecutor.

However, there could be an opportunity for the defendant’s attorney. If the officer has made other mistakes, such as getting the time wrong or getting other details of the incident wrong, then the defense attorney can argue that if the cop made one mistake, they made others as well.

Another plus for the defense is that there is only a 80 to 90 percent correlation between the test and blood alcohol level. That means there’s a TEN to TWENTY percent chance of a blood alcohol level less than .08.



This answer does not constitute legal advice, which can only be rendered after a full consideration of the facts of your case which is not possible in this format; nor establish an attorney-client relationship, which can only be done after you and an attorney meet and agree on the terms of that relationship. This answer is intended solely to provide general information about the justice system. Further, it does not provide the basis for making decisions about a course of action. Before making any decisions about a course of action readers are strongly encouraged to contact a lawyer and secure an attorney-client relationship. Readers must also understand that this format does not provide for confidential communication. Moreover, links to information on this site are for your convenience only and are not an endorsement or recommendation of those sites, and no responsibility is taken for any information at these linked sites, nor makes any representation or warranty with respect to these sites or the information contained therein.
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The Law Office of Richard T. Jones - Austin Criminal Defense Attorney
Located at 1004 West Avenue Austin, TX 78701. View Map
Virtual Office: 1000 Heritage Center Circle Round Rock, TX 78664.
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