Non-Standardized Tests That May Have Been Used in Your Milwaukee DUI Arrest

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted a study of several field sobriety tests in the late 1970s and found that three had some validity as indicators of intoxication. They were:

– The horizontal gaze nystagmus test;

– The walk-and-turn test; and

– The one-leg stand test.

These three tests are known as “standardized” field sobriety tests. In the field, however, police officers have been known to use a variety of “non-standardized” tests. Some of those non-standardized tests commonly seen by Milwaukee DUI lawyers are the finger-to-nose test, the count-down test, and the alphabet test.

Finger-to-Nose Test

The finger-to-nose test, in its most general form, requires the subject to close his eyes and alternate touching his left index finger and his right index finger to his nose. The test is sometimes combined with another non-standardized test, the Romberg balancing test. In such a case, the subject will be asked to tilt his head backwards as he does it.

Interestingly, this test, unlike most of the non-standardized tests, does have a modicum of scientific evidence supporting it. However, it can only really be used to detect the presence of alcohol, not to predict the level of blood alcohol a subject has.

Count-Down Test and Alphabet Test

The count-down test and the alphabet test are both tests of a subject’s cognitive ability. The count-down test requires counting backwards from some number and stopping at another number. To “pass” the test, the subject must be able to remember the numbers in reverse, and to stop at the designated point.

Similarly, the alphabet test requires the subject to recite the alphabet, either in full or in part (i.e., starting at a letter other than A and ending before Z). DUI suspects are not often asked to recite the alphabet backwards.

The Milwaukee DUI Lawyers of Vanden Heuvel & Dineen Can Help

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence and you believe that improper field sobriety tests were administered, you need an experienced Milwaukee DUI lawyer who can effectively cross-examine the arresting officer about the scientific validity (or lack thereof) of these tests. Please fill out the form on this page for a free evaluation of your case.