If you or someone you love was recently stopped at a DWI roadblock in Texas, you are entitled to know important facts about the law and your rights.
According to Governors Highway Safety Association information, DWI roadblocks are illegal in the state of Texas, and the fourth amendment of the U.S. Constitution says you are protected from unreasonable searches and seizures. These rights protect you and other citizens from being randomly stopped for no reason.
A DWI conviction can have a long-lasting impact on your personal, professional, and social life. It can mean you are prevented from specific types of employment and may even lose certain civil rights. A lawyer may be able to help you explore your legal options after a stop or subsequent arrest at a DWI roadblock.
You Cannot Be Stopped Without Reasonable Suspicion
Police officers in Texas are not allowed to stop you or to pull your car over without having a valid reason to do so. According to the law in Texas, a police officer cannot stop you for possible intoxicated driving unless they have what the law calls “probable cause” to suspect you of being intoxicated.
The law says, in Art. 2.133 of the Texas Penal Code, that if a police officer stops you and pulls your car over for any reason, they must submit a report that includes:
- A physical description of you as the driver
- Your gender, race, and ethnicity
- The initial reason you were pulled over
- Whether or not there was a search
- The reason for the search, if applicable
- Whether or not you consented to a search
- What was found due to the search
- Whether or not you were subsequently arrested
- The location where you were stopped
- Whether or not you were issued a warning or ticketed
- Whether or not physical force was used
During a stop or subsequent arrest by police, you have certain rights that cannot be violated. If you were stopped at a DWI roadblock, a lawyer may go to work to ensure your rights were not violated and to support you in any legal action against you because of that stop.
You Have the Right to Challenge a DWI Arrest
If you are stopped and pulled over because a police officer suspects you of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you have certain rights. Whether you are stopped at a DWI checkpoint or roadblock or pulled over under other circumstances, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety, you may legally refuse to answer questions without a lawyer present; however, you are required to show the officer your driver’s license if requested, and you may also need to give them your name, address, and date of birth if you are arrested.
Your rights are important, and a violation of your rights could give your lawyer leverage they can use to minimize the damage an arrest could cause. A stop or arrest at a DWI roadblock may not have to result in the suspension of your license and the loss of your driving privileges.
You Have the Right to Refuse to Submit to a Field Sobriety Test
You cannot be forced to submit to a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test or a field sobriety test. However, if you do agree to take a sobriety test, keep in mind that these tests must meet specific guidelines.
When you are stopped because police suspect you of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the officer will use a specific tool to assess your ability to drive. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) guidelines are clear on how field sobriety or other tests that measure your BAC should be conducted. The Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) typically consists of three tests that must be conducted in a specific manner.
- The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test looks for jerky or unsteady eye movements
- The Walk and Turn test examines your ability to obey simple commands and perform simple movements
- The One-Leg Stand test notes your ability to focus and to maintain physical balance
Police use these simple, non-invasive techniques to assess your alcohol consumption and its impact on your ability to safely operate your vehicle. These tests also help police officers make the decision of whether or not to arrest you for alcohol-impaired driving.
Potential DUI or DWI Penalties
If you are 21 years of age or older, according to Texas Department of Public Safety guidelines, DWI penalties are:
- 72 hours to 6 months in jail with no mandatory minimum amount of jail time for a first offense
- 30 days to one year in jail with a mandatory minimum of 72 hours for a second offense
If you are under the age of 21, you may receive a DUI, which is essentially a complex traffic ticket that includes a 60-day suspension of your driver’s license. You should also be aware that under certain circumstances, you may be charged with the more serious offense of DWI even if you are younger than 21. Review the circumstance of your arrest with a legal professional to learn more about the possible consequences you could be facing.
Learn More About Your Rights Regarding DWI Roadblocks
Being stopped and arrested for DWI can be stressful. The long-term repercussions of a DWI arrest and potential conviction can be even more stressful. It can also have a devastating impact on your career and on your personal and social life. Contact our team to put Randall Isenberg’s 30+ years of experience and his career as a former prosecutor and state district judge on your side.
If you are facing DWI charges after being stopped at a DWI roadblock in Texas, contact the criminal defense team at the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg by calling (214) 696-9253 right away.