If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck during field sobriety testing, it may very well be speech and gait impediments. However, the empty Grey Goose bottle in the passenger seat is not good for the gander. Drinks after work is common. Having them while driving home from work is an open container violation. While not in-and-of-itself an arrestable offense, don’t be surprised if the officer ALSO suspects drunk driving. Standard field sobriety tests, or SFSTs, are divided attention tests designed to outwardly observe rate of shifting attention between different sources. Simply put, they are cognitive and physical tests akin to patting your head AND rubbing your belly, hopefully not full of booze.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, the organization responsible for promulgating these tests, admits, “Road tests have long been considered the gold standard for measuring driving ability. [However,] they have widely-recognized limitations.” These tests are dated, highly subjective, often recorded poorly from a car video recorder, and intentionally designed as a mechanism to convict people not test whether or not they are sober. Ultimately it is your choice whether to participate. But, as often is the case with people accused of crimes speaking with police, law enforcement has already made up their minds, your participation is simply a confirmation bias towards their arrest. Next time leave that open container at home, and open your mind to having a great attorney at your side.

Thank you for visiting Jarvis, Garcia & Erskine’s blog, an Austin criminal defense attorney firm. We write to inform locals about news, events and law changes.