The HGN – Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus – Test is one of the three
standardized field sobriety tests. The police officer will ask you to
follow a pen, or other stimulus, with their eyes, and their eyes only,
without moving their head. The police officer will conduct a series of
passes across the front of the face from left to right and right to left.
The officer will also move the stimulus up and down.
The officer is looking for an involuntary twitching of the eye. Because
the eye twitch is involuntary it is almost impossible to “beat”
How to Effectively Decline a HGN
When I describe the test to individuals in public or at speaking engagements,
people develop seemingly clever ways to deceive or frustrate the test
. . . move your head, talk, be distracted by surroundings.
While these techniques may not allow the police officer to get an accurate
reading of nystagmus, the officer will testify at trial that the suspect
was incapable of following directions or staying focused due to their
level of intoxication.
Rather than attempt to deceive the test with movement that will be blamed
on intoxication, I have seen people have success in declining the test
due to eye allergies, dry eyes, or other eye issues.
Up next . . .the Nine Step Walk and Turn…
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