Our Tacoma DUI Attorney Discusses the Proper Administration of the Nystagmus Test

Monday, September 14th, 2015

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beer with keys Tacoma DUI Attorney A Tacoma DUI attorney oftentimes is called upon to explain different roadside sobriety tests to their clients and what these examinations mean. One of the roadside examinations law enforcement officers require a person suspected of DUI to take is called the nystagmus test. Simply put, nystagmus is a raid and involuntary movement of the eye. At its essence, the nystagmus is an examination of a suspect’s ability to follow a stimulus presented in front of his or her eyes. For example, if you are requested to take a nystagmus test, you may be asked to follow the movement of a pen placed in front of your eyes – moving only your eyes to do so. Similarly, if you are the test administrator, this is a tactic that might be employed by you. A proper technique exists to administer the nystagmus test. In order to ensure the accuracy of test results, it is important to keep these steps in mind when preparing to administer and when actually administering the nystagmus test. Failure to administer roadside tests properly can result in objections in court from a Tacoma DUI attorney.

Pre-Test Steps

If the suspect is wearing glasses, they must be removed. The suspect must stand with feet together and arms at the sides. The suspect is instructed to remain still during the test and to use only the eyes to follow the moving stimulus, the pen, for example.

Administering the Nystagmus Test

The stimulus (pen in our example) is placed in front of the suspect’s eyes, 12 to 25 inches from the nose and slightly above eye level. The suspect is instructed to follow the movement of the stimulus object until told to stop doing so. The object is then moved from side to side and up and done in front of the suspect’s eyes.

Evaluating the Nystagmus Test

During the test, the examiner evaluates pupil size, smooth movement and tracking of the stimulus. Most significantly, the tester makes note of the onset of the involuntary eye movement called at nystagmus. This is done with both the horizontal and vertical components of the test. The tester is provided with a score sheet to assist in evaluating the results of the test. A Tacoma DUI attorney will always be concerned with the proper administration of the test.

Contact a Tacoma DUI Attorney

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence, contact the law offices of Greene & Lloyd, PLLC at 253-770-0808 to schedule an appointment with a Tacoma DUI attorney.


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