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The Phase Two Finger Dexterity Test

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The Phase Two Finger Dexterity Test

Can you do the Finger Dexterity Test?

finger dexterity testThere are three distinct phases to an alcohol investigation. The first phase involves the officer’s observation of a person’s driving. It is called the “Vehicle In Motion” phase. The ultimate determination in this phase is whether or not the officer will initiate a traffic stop.  Phase one of the investigation ends when the driver stops the car.

Phase two, the “Personal Contact Phase” begins when the officer comes into contact with the driver.  The officer is trained to look, listen, and smell for cues of impairment. The ultimate decision in this phase is whether or not the driver should be removed from the car in order to be subjected to standardized field sobriety tests.  The legal standard courts apply is one of “reasonable and articulable suspicion.”  To help the officer reach this decision, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has developed certain tests that an officer can employ prior to removing the driver from the car.  One such test is the finger dexterity test.

How it works – The driver is asked to touch the tip of the thumb to the tip of each finger on the same hand while simultaneously counting up one, two, three, four; then to reverse direction on  the fingers while simultaneously counting down four, three, two, one.  This non-validated sobriety test requires the driver to listen, follow specific directions and divide attention. If you do poorly on the finger dexterity test, the officer can use this as part of his or her decision to remove you from the car and as a basis for probable cause to arrest you on suspicion of drunk driving.

Below is a short video showing a demonstration of the finger dexterity test (sometimes called the finger countdown test, or simply, the finger test).

If you believe that you have been falsely arrested on suspicion of DUI, please contact Dayton DUI attorney Charles M. Rowland II at (937) 318-1384. “All I do is DUI defense.”

Charles Rowland


Charles M. Rowland II has been representing the accused drunk driver for over 20 years. Contact him at (937) 318-1384 if you find yourself facing a DUI (now called OVI) charge.

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