alphabet test defense

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OUI DWI DUI Alphabet Test

Every year thousands of drivers across the commonwealth are arrested and charged with driving under the influence of  alcohol (DUI). Many of these arrests are based largely one the driver's inability to perform certain exercises known as field sobriety tests. Although many of these tests may seem relatively easy, the criteria for passing them are based entirely upon subjective evidence (the officer's observations and own opinion). Most common are the Walk and Turn, Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, along with the One Leg stand. All other methods—including the usually used DUI alphabet test are considered far too inaccurate.

The "alphabet" test involves reciting your ABCs. Something as simple as reciting the alphabet can suddenly turn difficult in a OUI stop situation. Since, the test is not approved by the NHTSA, there are no set policies for administering it. This means the instructions you receive may vary from one officer to another—some may ask one to recite the alphabet, whereas others may instruct one to write them down. In some cases, the officer may even ask someone to recite them backwards!

As you perform the alphabet test, the officer will probably be observing you for symptoms of intoxication. Slurring, mistakes, and starting or stopping the test before you are told to do so are some of the most common reasons for "failure". Likewise, in case you fail to follow the officer's directions exactly, it is possible to be arrested and charged with DUI.  In many instances the officer or others are watching you and perhaps making you nervous.

Fortunately, with the right representation, many drivers are able to successfully challenge the results of field sobriety tests which include the alphabet test. By proving that your mistakes may have been caused from fatigue or nervousness to questioning the legality of the test in general, an experienced DUI attorney can quickly determine the best defense strategy for your situation.

To improve your chances of receiving a favorable outcome in courtroom call me today.


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Law Office of Thomas A Dougherty
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