Reliability of the DWI Alphabet Test

The officer will then ask the person if they speak English, their level of education, and if they know the alphabet. As long as the person knows English and knows the alphabet the officer will tell the person to recite the alphabet in a non-singing, non-rhythmic manner.

If you perform poorly on a field sobriety test, that could indicate that you are too intoxicated to drive. It could also be caused by literally hundreds of medical issues or your physical condition that have nothing to do with intoxication. If you do, and you are intoxicated, you might provide the officer with evidence they need to convict you of driving under the influence in court. You are not required to take field sobriety tests on the side of the road. If you or a loved one has been charged with DWI, field sobriety testing can be challenged.

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  • Most officers intentionally mislead drivers with this statement knowing full-well that they will be arresting the driver irrespective of how the driver does on the Field Sobriety Tests.
  • Many of the scores or clues the officer can assign to you on the “Walk and Turn” test are subjective and, even worse, most officers will not tell you specifically what they will count against you as a clue.
  • Officers often use their finger or perhaps a pen for this test because they can easily see your eyes while providing an object for you to follow.
  • If the officer doesn’t think that you are DUI, they wouldn’t be giving you the FSTs in the first place.

Reciting the alphabet may seem like a simple enough task. What many are unaware of is that the test seems designed to fail. I have even heard numerous stories from clients over the years of police officers having them recite the alphabet backwards. Most of us have seen police officers on television administering field sobriety tests on the roadside – one that is commonly shown on TV involves tilting your head back, closing your eyes, and touching your nose.

Introduction: Learn the Alphabet Backwards in 5 MINUTES

Specifically, they are looking to see is a person sways while standing. As many of the people whom I’ve spoken with about field sobriety tests are quick to point out, most of us couldn’t even recite the alphabet backwards even if we’re sober. If you do, and you are not an athlete with perfect balance and no medical nystagmus who has practiced field sobriety tests, you may still be providing the officer with evidence they need to convict you of DUI. A field sobriety test is a “test” that is given by a police officer on the side of the road that presumably will tell the officer if your blood alcohol content is greater than .08%.

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If a police officer decides to administer the reciting the alphabet field sobriety test, he will instruct you to stand with your feet together with your hands at your sides and remain still. He will then instruct you to recite the alphabet without singing or stopping. The reliability of reciting the alphabet as a field sobriety test has been criticized—along with other non-standardized tests such as the Finger-to-Nose sobriety saying Test and the Counting Backwards Test. This kind of testing, according to critics, is inaccurate, unreliable, and designed to fail, and cannot accurately distinguish between drivers who are sober and intoxicated. Time and time again, there has been evidence throughout the country of people reportedly failing field sobriety tests until video evidence surfaced showing that they actually passed.

why is saying the alphabet backwards a sobriety test

Repeating the chunks in the correct order over and over again is one of the best ways you can teach your brain to remember them. Start from the end of the alphabet and repeat the chunks of letters, going slowly at first, until you’re confident you know each group of letters. People who are 65 years or older, more than 50 pounds overweight, or those who have leg, back, or middle ear problems should not perform the test. If the driver is wearing heels more than two inches, the officer should ask the individual to remove them prior to the test. This test is about 65% accurate according to the NHTSA. It will take you a few minutes to remember the story, and a couple more to remember the letters in the word you need to remember, and there you go in only 5 minutes you memorized the alphabet backwards.

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