Columbus DUI Detection Phase Two: Personal Contact cont'd

At this point in the DUI investigation the police officer has probably already determined that you will be asked to exit the vehicle and submit to Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, but why not make you look a little more foolish first. Now that the officer has used several techniques to determine whether you are OVI, he or she may use one or two more questions to catch you off guard and gather as much evidence to be used against you as possible. These questions seem simple on the surface, but when someone is impaired by alcohol or drugs answering them becomes much more difficult. In fact, these elementary level questions often make my clients look the worst. 

ABC's in OVI Investigation

You may be asked to recite part of the alphabet. You would think you could say your ABC's even during a state of extreme intoxication. The officer is unlikely to even ask you to say it backwards. He or she will just ask you to recite a part of the alphabet. Why is it that so many clients bomb this part of the investigation? If the officer were to ask you to recite the alphabet from A to Z, surely you could do it with ease. BUT NHTSA instructs an officer investigating a DUI to ask the driver to recite the alphabet from D to V or E to Q, etc. The trick is to make you process the information in a way your brain is unaccustomed to, which is obviously much more difficult if you are impaired by alcohol or drugs. Most people that fail the "alphabet test" do not stop on the correct letter and continue all the way to Z. In more embarrassing situations, they can't recite the alphabet at all. 


You may also be asked to count backwards. The officer will instruct you to start at a certain number and stop at another number. NHTSA recommends that the officer ask you to count backwards from 68-53. The idea is very similar to the alphabet test. The randomization of the starting and stopping points in each test make them difficult for a drunk person to perform.

If you are able to answer the officer's divided attention questions and perform competently on the tests above you likely will receive a traffic ticket and be on your war. If you can not, you should keep an eye out for the next post.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration DUI Detection Manual 2006.



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