Walckner Law Office
Attorney James Walckner
Many officers require drivers to perform other tests to make observations that suggest impairment and stack circumstantial evidence. These tests are not “standardized” and have no statistical or scientific basis, and are often applied inconsistently.
Alphabet Test: The officer requires the driver to recite the alphabet, from the letter “A” to “Z,” without singing the “alphabet song” most of us learned as children. Some officers add a twist to make this test more difficult by having drivers start and end at other letter, for instance, reciting the alphabet from the letter “C” to the letter “Q.” Clues the police look for include slurred speech, missing letters, mixing the order of letters, and starting or stopping at the wrong letter.
Counting Backwards: The officer randomly selects two numbers for the driver to count backwards from, for instance, 89 to 52. Counting backwards requires more cognitive capability than counting forward, and having the driver remember which numbers to start and end at make the task for difficult.
Thumb to Finger Touch Test: Also known as the Finger Count, the driver is required to touch the tip of his thumb to the tip of each finger while simultaneously counting upwards, one (1) through four (4), then in reverse order four through one. Most officers require a driver to complete this task three times, and are looking to see if the person becomes confused in the numbering sequence or has difficulty touching thumb to fingertip.
Finger-to-Nose Test: Here the driver is instructed to stand with feet together, head back, eyes closed, with both arms extended and index fingers pointing outward. When the officer calls out “Right” or “Left” the driver is required to touch the tip of that hand’s index finger to the tip of the nose. The officer may call out any variation of “right” or “left” while looking to see if the person has difficulty with balance or touching the tip of the nose.
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