Welcome back and thanks for joining us as we wrap up the subject of roadside field sobriety tests in Michigan – a subject that a few of our clients have likened to the scariest pop quiz they ever had to take! Thus far we’ve looked at the more common tests, like the horizontal nystagmus test, the walk-and-turn test, and a few others like the one-leg-stand and rhombus balance tests. Moving on we’re going to break down a few of the less common ones used by police officers here in Michigan.
The Finger-Tap Test
This test is also sometimes called the Finger Counting Test. It’s where an officer tells you to hold out one of your hands, palm up, and count out your fingers by touching the tip of each finger with the tip of your thumb. You have to count out loud, going backwards and forwards through the numbers for three consecutive sets. In other words: 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1.
During the test, the officer will be watching to see if you screw up. It sounds impossible to screw up such a simple test, but when your brain is flooded with alcohol, it can be be hard to perform this properly. For example, if you miss numbers, struggle to touch your own fingertips, start the test too soon or stop before you’ve completed the right number of sets, you could be labelled as drunk and end up on your way to the county jail.
The Finger-to-Nose Test
During this test the officer will have you stand with your feet together, your back straight, and your eyes closed. As soon as the cop gives the order, you will be required to lift a hand and touch the tip of your nose. Just like the previous test, it sounds simple and is pretty easy to do when you’re sober, but under the influence of drugs or alcohol, this one can be a toughie! During the test, the officer will be watching for any of the following signs of drunkenness:
- Swaying while trying to maintain balance
- Missing your own nose
- Body tremors
- The inability to stand upright without support
- Eyelid tremors
- Sneaking a peak to help you find your nose
Other Possible Evaluations
Although this covers most of the more commonly used tests that police use during roadside sobriety checks, these aren’t the only things they’re watching for. Things like slurred speech, the inability to keep your eyes open, slumping over the wheel, losing track of what you’re talking about and bloodshot eyes are all things that cops will notice when interacting with you after you’ve been pulled over. In fact, the first thing officers often notice is the smell of alcohol on your breath when you’re speaking to them, which is something that’s hard to hide even with good quality breath mints.
There are also other tests that officers sometimes use, like clapping to a beat, counting backwards, reciting the alphabet (not backwards, usually) and other possible options that could be used to help the officer determine if you are intoxicated. However, if an officer thinks you’re drunk, he or she often eventually requests that you take a preliminary breath test (PBT) at the scene. You are free to refuse to participate with the PBT, although be aware that refusing a pre-arrest breath test is a civil infraction and you will likely have to pay a ticket.
The best advice we can give you when it comes to roadside sobriety tests and interactions with the police, is DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE! However, if you’ve already made the mistake of getting behind the wheel after a few too many, you are going to need help of a skilled DUI defense attorney. So call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245. Our attorneys are available 24 hours a day, 7 days, because we understand that life continues beyond business hours.