FINGER COUNT TEST

Texas drivers under investigation for DUI / DWI often must take the finger-count test or another field sobriety test before being arrested. Many drivers hope that a good performance on a field sobriety test will help them to avoid an arrest, but that’s rarely the case. The test merely establishes probable cause for an arrest and generates evidence for a drunk driving court case.

However, no matter how a driver performs on a field sobriety test, it’s still possible to fight and win a drunk driving case. Texas DUI / DWI defense lawyer David Hunter will aggressively challenge the results of the finger-count test and demonstrate to a jury that the driver’s performance can just as easily show a lack of impairment.

The finger-count test isn’t standardized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), so it has less evidentiary weight than a standardized test. The outcome of the test relies solely on the officer’s opinion of whether the driver “passed” or “failed,” and there is no objective scoring system.

A police officer administering the finger-tap test will instruct a driver to extend his or her hand palm-up and touch the tip of each finger to the tip of the thumb. The motorist is directed to count out loud after each tap, forward and backward, for three sets. As the driver completes the test, the officer will watch for the following signs that the driver is intoxicated: Beginning the test too soon, not following instructions, an inability to touch fingers as instructed, an inability to perform the correct number of sets, an inability to count as directed, and stopping the test before told to do so.

The finger-count test is highly subjective and inherently unfair, because it’s designed to be failed. Fatigue, illness, injury, or even nervousness can cause any driver to perform poorly. Sometimes police don’t even conduct the test correctly.

The subjectivity of the finger-tap test and other non-standardized field sobriety tests can actually be an advantage to a strategic drunk driving defense, because it means they can be successfully challenged in court. A DUI / DWI lawyer who is skilled in the art of cross-examination will question the arresting officer thoroughly to extract details that work in the driver’s favor.

Accused Texas drunk drivers who perform poorly on field sobriety tests such as the finger tap exercise are often worried about the prospect of taking their cases to trial because they fear an automatic conviction. However, DUI / DWI charges can be fought and won. Fort Bend defense lawyer David Hunter has the experience needed to effectively defend a driving while intoxicated case and create reasonable doubt in the driver’s guilt.