Unvalidated but Common Connecticut DUI Field Tests in Connecticut

When the police suspect a person of driving under the influence, they may pull the person over and ask them to perform standardized field sobriety tests. However, there are additional tests that might be administered. Such tests are considered unvalidated tests but can come into play when the police officer is determining how to proceed. You can learn more about these tests here.

Unvalidated but common Connecticut DUI field tests:

Counting Backwards

This divided attention test requires a person to count out loud a set of numbers in reverse order. For example, the person is instructed to count starting with 56 and ending with 28. This divides the person’s attention because they have to remember what number to start with, count backwards correctly, and remember what number to stop on. Anything other than 100% perfection will be viewed as a sign of intoxication.


This test requires a person to recite a portion of the alphabet. The person is instructed to start with a specific letter, such as D, and stop at a specific letter, such as T. This divides the person’s attention because they have to remember the specific letter to start with, say the letters in sequence, and remember the letter to stop with. Anything less than 100% perfection will be viewed as a sign of intoxication. It is also used to determine if a person is slurring their words.

Finger Count

This test required a person to touch the tip of each finger in succession to the tip of their thumb, up and back, while counting 1, 2, 3, 4, … 4, 3, 2, 1. They must touch fingertips while not counting out of order. Anything less then 100% perfection will be viewed as a sign of intoxication.

Stationary Balance (i.e. Rhomberg)

This test requires a person to stand with heels and toes touching, leaning their head back to look up at the sky or ceiling, holding their arms out to the side (like an airplane) and estimate 30 seconds. The officer is looking for any unnatural sway. I have had officers testify from a range of anything more than ½ inch to one inch from center is too much sway and must be caused by intoxication. Also, if your estimation is not close to 30 seconds, this will be viewed as a sign of intoxication.

Getting Help

These unvalidated tests and any others that are not the walk and turn test, one leg stand test, or horizontal nystagmus gaze test are not very reliable. A good lawyer can defend against the results of these tests or even make the evidence inadmissible in court. For help with a Connecticut DUI, contact my office. I am happy to guide you through this process and fight for your rights.


My name is Teresa, and I am a DUI lawyer, but that is only part of who I am. I have been practicing law in Connecticut since 2006.


My office has operators standing by 24 hours a day 7 days a week. When you need to speak to an attorney, we will be there to answer the call.


Need to get some answers but not able to make a call? Just send us a text and one of my team members will reply ASAP.


Need to reach out via Facebook? Use Facebook Messenger to send us your question.


With offices conveniently located in Stamford, Shelton, New Haven, Waterbury, and New London, we cover the entire state.


sent to you for free