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Common non-standardized field sobriety tests

On Behalf of | Mar 3, 2024 | Criminal Defense

When Texas drivers are pulled over and suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol, officers will often ask to administer field sobriety tests to determine if the driver is intoxicated. The Standard Field Sobriety Test (SFST) consists of three different tests: The one-leg stand, the walk-and-turn test and the horizontal gaze nystagmus. However, drivers may also be asked to take some non-standardized field sobriety tests. 


With the finger-to-nose test, the officer asks the individual to tilt their head back and touch the tip of their nose with their index finger. The individual will alternate between right and left hands. The officer looks for poor coordination, difficulty following instructions or other signs of impairment. 

Romberg Balance Test 

In the Romberg Balance Test, the driver stands with their feet together and their head tilted back. They close their eyes for an estimated 30 seconds. The officer takes note of any loss of balance or swaying, which could indicate intoxication.  

Alphabet Test 

The Alphabet Test is as the name implies, the officer will ask the driver to recite the alphabet. It may be either backward or forward. The officer checks for signs of impairment, such as an inability to recite the alphabet correctly or mispronouncing or slurring letters. 

Help is available  

Unlike the Standard Field Sobriety Test, non-standardized field sobriety tests are not supported by research nor approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Non-standardized field sobriety tests may not provide accurate results and shouldn’t be used to determine a person’s sobriety. Any individual in Texas who has been arrested and accused of DWI has a right to consult an experienced attorney who can evaluate the case and determine a beneficial defense strategy.