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Newly arriving in Texas? DWI laws may be different here

On Behalf of | Nov 1, 2021 | DWI

If you have just moved to Texas, you may want to get acquainted with all of the laws within the state. They could be different from the state you used to live in, and you want to find out about those differences in advance.

Below, we’ll consider a few things regarding DWI and drug laws. This can give you a sense of how your rights may be different here and how you can address that.

Texas does not use sobriety checkpoints

In many states, the government allows for the use of sobriety checkpoints. These are checkpoints where all drivers have to stop so that police can make sure they’re not impaired. This has often been called a violation of Fourth Amendment rights since there is no reason for the stop, but the Supreme Court has opted to allow it.

That’s fine from a federal perspective, but Texas still believes that these stops are unconstitutional and a violation of your rights. The state does not use them. Instead, they rely on standard traffic stops where a police officer has probable cause to make that stop in advance.

Similarly, Texas doesn’t use drug checkpoints — but they have a unique trick

Drug checkpoints also aren’t used in Texas. Essentially, the same idea applies: You can’t just randomly stop people to see if they’re breaking the law.

However, some have reported officers putting up signs announcing nonexistent checkpoints. Drivers who just keep going will never find a checkpoint or get stopped. However, drivers who pull a U-turn to avoid this alleged checkpoint will get pulled over. The illegal U-turn is probable cause for a stop since it’s a traffic violation, and the officers suspect that someone who is trying to avoid the checkpoint may be carrying drugs, driving under the influence, or even just impaired by alcohol — or all of the above.

These are just two examples of how these laws are applied in Texas, and they show why you definitely need to know how they work as soon as you arrive. You also need to know what legal options you have if you get arrested.