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Non Standardized Test

Updated: Mar 5, 2023 @ 8:00 pm

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Understanding Non-Standardized Sobriety Testing

Houston DWI Attorney Tad NelsonThe non-standardized tests are used by officer because they can still testify about their observations from these tests even though they hold no scientific validity.

Essentially, the officer could throw a dart and guess whether you are intoxicated about as well as he can tell by your performance on these tests. Keep in mind that while some of the non-standardized tests are listed below, new tests are invented and used all the time.

Finger to Nose

During this test you will be asked to put your feet together, close your eyes, and slowly bring your index finger up and touch the tip of your nose. The officer will tell you which hand he wants you to touch your nose with by calling out “Left” or “Right”.

The police officers are looking to see whether you sway during this test, whether you use the correct finger to touch your nose, and whether you actually touch the tip of your nose with the tip of your finger.

The Rhomberg Balance Test

During this last test the police officer will advise you to tilt your head back, close your eyes, and estimate 30 seconds. When you believe thirty seconds has passed you are supposed to open your eyes, tilt your head forward and tell the officer to stop. During this test the officer will look to see if there is any swaying, swaggering, or the inability to stand up. He will also look at his watch to see how close to 30 seconds you get.

If you stop the test before 30 seconds the officer will say that you must be on something that speeds up your “internal clock” – such as cocaine, methamphetamine, or other stimulant. If you stop the test much past 30 seconds the officer will say that you are on a depressant such as alcohol.

Alphabet Recitals

The officer will ask you to say – not sing – the alphabet from A to Z. He is looking for slurred speech and to see whether you can recall the alphabet accurately. A lot of people will mumble through “m,n,o,p” This is something that officers will, however, say indicates intoxication.


One test that officers like to use, is asking you to count from one number to another. For instance, he will ask you to count from 46 to 62. He will be listening to see how well you pronounce the numbers, whether you remember what numbers to start and stop at, and whether you miss any numbers.

Although many of us believe we could perform this test without a problem, you have to remember that being in investigated by the police is typically an intimidating process. Your blood pressure is elevated, you breath is more rapid, and you simply are not thinking as clearly as you would if you were not under pressure.

There are a few other field sobriety tests but any DWI lawyer will tell you that these tests are important ones and if any have been performed on you your lawyer will need to prepare a strong legal strategy to discredit the prosecution’s case.

The good thing about these tests is that not everyone is able to complete all these tests due to other reasons beyond their control. A DWI lawyer may use this strategy when defending a DWI defendant in a court of law.

The most dangerous field sobriety test is the portable breath analyzer test. This is a breath test given to the suspect to see if there is any trace of alcohol on his breath. This test will produce immediate results and is a critical piece of evidence in the prosecution’s case.

In order to have any chance of defense during a DWI arrest you need to contact an experienced DWI lawyer that has the skills to fight your case effectively. Contact The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates to arrange a free initial consultation with our legal team. Our Clear Lake law office phone number is 281-280-0100 and for Houston please call 713-802-1631.

Understanding Non-Standardized Sobriety Testing

The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates

Houston DWI Lawyer Tad A Nelson is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the TBLS.

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