The Finger-to-Nose Field Sobriety Test
What is a finger to nose field sobriety test?
The finger to nose field sobriety test is one of several non-standardized field sobriety tests commonly administered by police officers to help determine if an individual is driving while impaired because of alcohol, controlled substances, prescription medicine or some other substance. The finger to nose sobriety test is called a non-standardized sobriety test because it has not been approved by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) as a test that has measurable criteria that can determine if someone has an elevated blood alcohol content (BAC).
The finger-to-nose field sobriety test process is as follows:
- The individual brings the tip of the index finger up to touch the tip of the nose while their eyes are closed and their head is tilted slightly back (standing in a manner identical to the Romberg Balance Field Sobriety Test).
- The individual attempts this three times with each hand (six total attempts). The police officer will instruct the individual to use a specific hand on each attempt.
Police officers will be looking at the following criteria during the finger to nose sobriety test when attempting to determine if someone is driving impaired.
- Can the individual follow instructions.
- Does the individual sway and if so in what direction.
- Does the individuals eye lids, legs or body shake more than is expected.
- Does the subject seem more rigid or relaxed than normal.
- Does the individual make noises or make statements during the test.
- The individuals depth perception.
- Is the individual able to touch their index finger to their nose.
Because there are no “set standards” when giving non-standardized sobriety tests such as the finger to nose test, they are typically called into question by experienced DUI / DWI lawyers during DUI prosecutions.