What to Do If Stopped By Police?

Interviewer: Okay, what would you do if stopped by Police?

Jerald Novak: I go full circle with the beginning of my explanation. I would certainly comply by giving them my license and insurance card. I certainly would not admit to consuming any alcohol or beverages, any medication or any drug, and I would slightly decline to answer any further questions. “I’m sorry, Sir. I don’t wish to participate in any test.” Then, they’re going to threaten me and say, “Hey, if you don’t take this test, I’m going to arrest you.” What do you think they’re going to do if you do take the test?

Finger-to-Nose Test Problems

Interviewer: What about the test that has the person close their eyes and flex their nose? Are they still doing that one?

Jerald Novak: Yes, that is the Finger-to-Nose Test. Remember when you’re a kid, you go to birthday parties and they would put a blindfold on you and spin you around in a circle, and you try to pin the tail on the donkey?

Interviewer: It’s called Pin the Tail on the Donkey.

Jerald Novak: You’re the donkey. You have to be a complete ass to take that test. The reason I say that and I apologize to anybody who has taken that test but again, you’re out on the side of the road. It’s the middle of the night. There’s traffic going by. You’ve never done it before. Basically, what they want you to do is close your eyes, tilt your head back, extend your arms away from your body, and then the police officer is going to say, “Touch your finger at your nose.” He’s not going to go “Right, left, right, left, right, left.” He’s going to go, “Right, left, right, left, right, right.” Now, not only are playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey, you’re playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey and Simon Says at the same time. Who wins the game of Simon Says? Simon will always win. Guess who Simon is? Simon is the guy with the badge.

He didn’t tell you. I’m going to tell you, first, right. Then, left. First, right. Then, left. Now, I’m going to go right, right. He doesn’t tell you that. He does the right, left, right, left, right, right. All of a sudden because you’re in the flow of the rhythm of touching your finger at your nose, and he changed up your … You started with your left, that’s what he’s going to mark you off.

Now, if you don’t touch your finger exactly to the tip of your nose, guess what? He’s going to say you missed your nose. No way is he going to say, “You missed the nose.” He’s going to say, “The driver missed the tip of the nose” but he generally doesn’t say, “I want you to touch the tip of your finger to the tip of your nose.” He just says, “I want you to touch the tip of your finger to your nose.” My nose goes from my eyebrow all the way to just above my upper lip, but if you don’t touch the tip if your nose, he’s going to say that you failed that test.

Alphabet Test Problems

Interviewer: I don’t know if this one still exists but was there one with an alphabet where you say the alphabet backwards or you have to do a combination where you say that backwards?

Jerald Novak: What they tell you is they want you to recite the alphabet and they want you to do it without singing it. Now, we’re all brought up to learn the English alphabet and the way we are all brought up to learn it, and what we’ve been trained to do, and what we did when we were children was to sing the ABCs, A, B., C, D, E, F, G. We’ve been trained to do that and we train our kids to do that.

What do the police do? They go, “We know you’ve been training to do it this way so we’re going to do it a completely different way.” I don’t know about you but we develop what’s called muscle memory. When you do something over and over again, you develop a muscle memory. You know exactly how fast or how slow or how high or how low to reach for something that you do all the time. When we were kids, it was indoctrinated into our mind that when we learn the alphabet, we learn it by singing the ABC.

The police officer says, “I want you to recite the alphabet. I don’t want you to sing it. I want you to recite it.” Our natural habit is going to be to launch right into the ABC song. The police officer will often say that you sang it instead of recited it, that you may have missed a letter or duplicated a letter, or skipped a letter, or that you couldn’t finish the recitation of the alphabet. Again, just remember, you’re out on the side of the road, at the middle of the night, there’s cars going by, there’s flashing lights going by. There may be many reasons somebody might do poorly on a test that may have nothing to do with the consumption of alcohol or drugs.

I don’t know with elderly parents but I got to tell you, I don’t think my dad could recite the ABC. It’s just a matter of nature and age.

Interviewer: Yeah, I sort of understand, my dad mumbles everything. Even, he’s like; “I didn’t have a single beer all day”. He knows that but he mumbles it out. He’s hard to understand sometimes.

Jerald Novak: Let’s not forget that this is America which is made up of immigrants. Many people that live here were not born here. They were not raised here. Just because they can speak English doesn’t mean that they can recite the American alphabet. I took four years of Spanish in high school. I couldn’t recite the Spanish alphabet in Spanish. I can’t do it. Impossible.

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