Finger Count Test

Drivers suspected of DWI are almost always asked to undergo field sobriety testing which can be used as evidence in a drunk driving court case. Luckily, this evidence can be effectively challenged by a New Jersey DWI attorney with a proven track record of defending drunk driving cases. Drivers often believe that their performance on tests like the finger-count test help police to decide whether to make an arrest, but that decision is typically made long before the test starts.

Police administer the finger-tap test by instructing the driver to extend one hand palm-up and touch the tip of each finger to the tip of the thumb. The driver is instructed to count out loud after each tap, forward and backward, for three sets.

During the test, the officer is watching for the following signs that the driver is under the influence: Starting the test too soon, an inability to follow instructions, an inability to touch fingers as instructed, counting incorrectly, performing an incorrect number of sets, and stopping the test before instructed to do so.

Although police and prosecutors may believe that the finger-count test is a reliable indicator of intoxication, in reality, the test is inherently flawed. The finger-count test is so subjective that it shouldn't even be called a test, because it's designed to be failed.

Many factors can contribute to a poor performance on the finger-count test, including illness or injury. An experienced NJ DWI drunk driving defense attorney can establish that many causes other than alcohol would cause a driver to perform poorly on the finger-count test, and will demonstrate that the "signs" exhibited by the driver could just as easily show that the driver was not impaired.

The finger-count test isn't standardized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), so it carries less weight in court than other field sobriety tests. It has no objective scoring system, so whether a driver "passes" or "fails" depends solely on the officer's opinion.

In addition, the "clues" of intoxication that police look for are extremely subjective, meaning they can be interpreted in a number of ways. Illness or injury can negatively affect the driver's performance. Nervousness or fatigue also can cause a driver to "fail" the finger-count test. Some officers don't even administer the test properly.

Like other field sobriety tests, the finger-count test can often be effectively challenged in court. A New Jersey DWI lawyer who concentrates on defending suspected DWI / DUI drivers will cross-examine the arresting officer about the driver's performance on the finger-count test as part of an aggressive DWI defense strategy to prove the motorist's innocence.

The New Jersey DWI lawyers at Levow DWI Law, P.C. have all undergone the same NHTSA training that New Jersey police officers have. Evan Levow is a qualified instructor in the field sobriety testing. This knowledge helps Levow DWI Law, P.C. to dissect all parts of the DWI / DUI stop and arrest. If the officer administered or scored the field exercises incorrectly, Levow DWI Law, P.C. will aggressively demonstrate that "testing" in your case was flawed and of little evidential value.

To have us review your field testing issues or any other DWI / DUI issue, please call Levow DWI Law, P.C. at 877-593-1717.

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