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What is a nystagmus?

On Behalf of | Nov 11, 2017 | DWI Defense |

If you have been pulled over by a Texas police officer or other law enforcement officer and eventually questioned for suspected drunk driving, you may also have been asked to take a few tests right where you have been stopped. These are commonly referred to as field sobriety tests. It is important that you understand what these tests are designed to measure and how accurate they may or may not be.

According to, none of these tests can or are intended to measure or prove that you are drunk. They can only provide data that may be used to suggest that you might be drunk and this is then used to support an officer placing you under arrest. Each one of the three tests has a failure rate. One of the three tests is called the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. It is the most accurate yet even still has an accuracy rate of only 77 percent.

A nystagmus is an involuntary jerking of the eyeball that may be more noticeable after a person has consumed alcohol. However, the reality is that many medical conditions might actually contribute to an exacerbated nystagmus which might in turn lead an officer to inaccurately interpret what they see in your eye’s movement.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give residents in Texas an overview of one of the three standard field sobriety tests so they understand the potential ways in which these tests may be identified as inaccurate.


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