Joseph J. Colarusso, Attorney at Law
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Understanding the eye field sobriety test

If you have been arrested in Connecticut and charged with an impaired driving offense, you may have been asked to take some tests before you were placed under arrest. explains that the reason for this testing is not to prove that you are intoxicated or even to prove an exact level of intoxication. Instead,  field sobriety tests are designed to give officers enough evidence to support them arresting you for suspected intoxication while driving. 

In two of the tests, your ability to perform multiple actions at one time will be evaluated. In the third test, a natural and involuntary reflex of your eye will be evaluated. This test is called the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. This involves an officer moving an item in front of your eyes from one side to the other. It should be held about a foot away from your face. As the item is moved, you should track its movement with your eyes. You are not allowed to move your head while doing so.

As your eyes get closer to the sides of the eye sockets, a slight jerking may result. This is normal to a certain degree but is believed to be exacerbated when under the influence of alcohol and it may even begin sooner that it might if you had not consumed alcohol. While this is the most reliable of all three field sobriety tests, its accuracy rate is only found to be 77 percent. 

If you would like to learn more about how law enforcement officers collect evidence before making a drunk driving arrest, please feel free to visit the driving while under the influence page of our Connecticut criminal defense website.

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