Standardized and Non-Standardized Tests

Standardized and Non-Standardized Tests

If you are familiar with the Romberg test, you’ll know it is a non-standardized yet commonly employed DUI test. But it is not the only one. Other non-standardized measures include the finger to nose test, the alphabet test, the countdown test, and the finger count test. Your Orange County DUI lawyer is very knowledgeable about the use and limitations of these measures.

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The Finger-to-Nose Assessment

The finger-to-nose test is a common non-standardized test used in DUI stops. As the name suggests, the subject must touch the tip of the nose with the index finger. This is done with eyes closed and using alternating hands.  While this measure reflects the presence of alcohol according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it does not increase the predictive ability of DUI testing. The same holds true for the Romberg tests, discussed in another area of our website.

Alphabet, Countdown, and Finger Count Tests

These DUI tests are also non-standardized and open to interpretation. For example, in a common version of the alphabet test, the person is asked to recite the alphabet, or maybe write it down. Yet another version of the alphabet test has a twist—they must begin at different assigned letter after A and end with a letter before Z. (Note that Orange County DUI lawyers often hear of concerns that the alphabet test requires subjects to recite their ABCs backward, yet that is not usually how the test is administered. The countdown test does work backward however, requiring subjects to countdown from 80 to 60 (for example).)

To make either the alphabet or countdown more challenging, the police officer may ask someone to perform one of them while standing heel to toe, with one foot positioned in front of the other.

Clients sometimes ask their Orange County DUI lawyer about the finger test. Imagine using one hand to touch your thumb to the tip of each finger while counting up, then reversing the order while counting down. That’s how the test is done.

These non-standardized tests are just one battery of DUI measures. Standardized tests have been more closely evaluated for their usefulness by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. These tests include the horizontal gaze nystagmus, the walk and turn, and the one-leg stand.

For further information and legal advice call the Law Office of Mike Coffey Attorney at Law& Coffey, Orange County DUI lawyers, at (800) 706-7888.