In our last post, we discussed a University of Michigan football player's recent scrape with the law and how it showed the repercussions for people who drive while intoxicated or with suspended licenses. Now, another athlete with Texas connections finds himself in a similar position and provides a teachable moment about field sobriety tests.

Dallas Mavericks player DeShawn Stevenson was arrested in suburban Irving, Texas earlier this week after police received calls about an intoxicated person wandering around an apartment complex. Stevenson was arrested after officers administered field sobriety tests and was kept in jail until the following morning, when he posted bail.

When police suspect someone has been drinking, they often administer a field sobriety test, such as asking the suspect to stand on one leg, breath into a preliminary breath tester or recite the alphabet. These tests generate a lot of controversy because they are highly dependent on the individual officer's judgment and subjective impressions. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has developed a model system for managing these kinds of tests, but if an officer has not had a refresher course in awhile or was never properly trained in the first place, it is easy to see how the test could be administered in a flawed manner and produce a false positive.

Anyone who faces charges of drunk driving or public intoxication after failing a field sobriety test should remember that there are several ways these tests could be administered incorrectly. It may help your situation to look into whether the officer in your circumstance did, in fact, follow proper procedure.

Source: Detroit Free Press, "Mavericks' DeShawn Stevenson accused of public intoxication," 16 June 2011.