Virginia law enforcement may have asked you to perform a field sobriety test called the Finger to Nose test. We’ll discuss the factors surrounding this test, including what the officer is trained to look for.

Before asking you to perform this test, the officer will first demonstrate it for you. When instructed to begin, you will extend your arm out and touch your nose with the tip of your index finger. The officer will be watching you closely to see if you touch the bridge of your nose, your upper lip, etc. It is important to note though that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has concluded that there is no statistical determination as to whether touching your finger to your nose relates to having a blood alcohol content of .10. If this field sobriety test applies to your case, we will bring this important fact to the attention of the judge and jury while in court.

Getting back to the actual test itself, the officer will also ask you to tilt your head back and keep your eyes closed. Then the officer will call out “left” and “right” randomly at which point you will take your left or right index finger and touch it to your nose.

What is the officer waiting for?

There are certain “clues” that the officer will be watching for that can indicate intoxication such as inability to follow instructions, swaying, muscle tightening or tremors, a lack of depth perception, or missing your nose and touching other parts of your face instead. If you made any statements during testing, the officer will likely make notes of what was said.

This field sobriety test is not recognized by the NHTSA as standardized. They have found no reliable indicator of physical or mental impairment from test results and therefore this test holds less value in court. We will also research the testing conditions, making sure the officer administered the test in a safe place on even ground that was not slippery and where the lighting was adequate. We also call into question whether or not the officer properly demonstrated and/or administered this field sobriety test.