Why did the Officer Make me say the Alphabet Backwards after Being Arrested in Massachusetts?

If you find yourself in a situation where you are pulled over by a police officer after a night of drinking, it is likely the officer will instruct you to perform field sobriety tests as a way to determine if you are in fact intoxicated.

Reciting the ABC’s is a commonly used method, and many people believe that, if pulled over, they will be required to recite the ABC’s backward. While the ABC test is a real sobriety test that officers can utilize to determine a persons blood alcohol concentration, it is highly unlikely you will be required to recite the alphabet backwards; backwards-recital of the ABC’s is more of a myth than a reality for most.

The National Traffic Safety Administration, sometimes referred to as NHTSA, states that the only field sobriety tests that are supported by research are the:

  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus test
  • The walk-and-turn test
  • One leg stand test

This means that any other field sobriety test, including the reciting of the ABC’s backwards, is not scientifically reliable and therefore wouldn’t necessarily constitute an arrest. If an officer were to ask you to recite the alphabet, it is much more likely you would be asked to say the alphabet forward and to recite it at a slow pace. However, since the alphabet field sobriety test is not approved by NHTSA, there are no rules and regulations that officers are required to follow if they do wish to have you recite the alphabet.

Alphabet

Contact Attorney DelSignore today if you would like to discuss any field sobriety tests you may have taken after being stopped by a police officer. Often times, there are small mistakes officers make that allow the evidence to be inadmissible at court. To read more about the field sobriety tests endorsed by the NHTSA, click here.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
Michael was very professional and explained the process clearly and told us to be patient. After one year the charges got dismissed in the trial. Excellent knowledge of the court systems in the area of Boston. Would highly recommend him
★★★★★
A careless decision on my part left me facing charges which would have severely hampered my ability to stay employed and support myself. But attorney DelSignore's skillful analysis and challenging of the evidence against me resulted in a conviction on a lesser charge. Now I'll be able to go on with my life, having learned a lesson I'll never forget. Thank you, Michael. Scott
★★★★★
Mike stuck with my case for 3.5 years and always kept me informed regarding the status. Ultimately, because of his due diligence, we ended up with an OUI not guilty verdict. This case could have gone many ways but his thorough review of the case and exceptional preparedness for trial ultimately drove a positive outcome. Thank you Mike! David
★★★★★
Michael DelSignore did an amazing job with my case! Either him or his partner Julie was always available to answer any questions I had and helped walked me through the entire process. I could not have done it without them! I highly recommend choosing this law firm to deal with your legal needs, you will not be dissatisfied. Ashley
★★★★★
I cannot express the gratitude towards both Michael and Julie for their amazing work and help. It was a very stressful event and they certainly put me at as much ease as possible. From start to finish it took 14 months and all the way through they were both very engaged with me. Today was worth the wait, Michael was great in court and I was rightfully found not guilty. I would recommend Michael and Julie over and over again. Claire
Contact Us for a Free Consultation
(508) 455-4755(781) 686-5924