You, like most motorists in Texas, are ill prepared for a traffic stop because you have never been stopped by law enforcement for. Your first thought is that you are being stopped for speeding, so you are recalling just how fast you were going and if you had been keeping the same pace. Was it possible that you accidentally traveled too fast when you were not using cruise control? But you also wonder if it has nothing to do with speeding and how you were operating the vehicle. Will the officer presume you were driving under the influence of alcohol and arrest you for a DWI?
DWI traffic stops
In order for a police officer to pull over a motorist for drunk driver, the officer must have reasonable suspicion for the stop. Thus, if an officer has reasonable suspicion that a motorist is under the influence of alcohol, this must be established with the observations of the officer. This can include straddling the center line, making an illegal turn, drifting from one lane to another, nearly hitting another vehicle or objects on the side of the road, driving extremely slow or erratic, frequently braking or making a stop in the middle of the road for no apparent reason.
However, a DWI stop does not only occur when an officer observes a motorist’s driving. Following an accident, an officer may have suspicion that a motorist is under the influence. This could result in the driver being asked to submit to a field sobriety test. One situation where motorists cannot be faced with a DWI is at a sobriety checkpoint. While these are legal under federal law, the state of Texas has found them to be illegal under state law.
For a DWI stop to occur, an officer must reasonably suspect that the driver in under the influence of alcohol. For a DWI arrest to occur, officers need to establish that the driver is in fact intoxicated. Three things must occur when establishing that. First observations of the driving or the driver in general are assessed. Next, if an officer suspects a driver is under the influence, a field sobriety test is conducted. Finally, if a motorist fails the field sobriety test, a blood alcohol test will occur. This establishes that the driver is over the legal limit as well as how intoxicated they are.
Officers must follow certain protocols when making a stop and an arrest for a DWI. Therefore, it is important to consider these steps and whether or not they fulfilled them. Failure to do so could help dismiss evidence, which could ultimately reduce or dismiss the charges against you. Facing allegations of a DWI is likely a difficult time for you because it could impact your life in many ways. It could mean the loss of your license, fines and other penalties. Thus, it is important that you take action and initiate a defense.