Most DWI arrests begin as traffic stops, when law enforcement officers pull over drivers on suspicion that they have committed a traffic violation or criminal offense. Under Texas law, traffic stops must meet specific standards to be valid. If law enforcement officers fail to conduct Dallas DWI stops properly, drivers may be able to challenge the admissibility of any evidence discovered during the stop.
If you were arrested for DWI, you should discuss your case with a seasoned attorney. A criminal defense lawyer may be able to analyze the circumstances surrounding your case and determine whether any constitutional violations occurred.
Reasonable Suspicion and Dallas DWI Traffic Stops
The law does not permit law enforcement officers to randomly stop drivers to check for alcohol or drug impairment. The only exception may be for DWI roadblock checkpoints, which requires a significant amount of prior coordination and notice to the public. Otherwise, law enforcement officers must have a reasonable suspicion that drivers have committed traffic offenses or are driving while intoxicated before conducting a Dallas DWI stop.
Some examples of reasonable suspicion may include the following:
- Constant lane shifting or an inability to stay in the lane
- Speeding, running through red lights, and other traffic violations
- Driving the wrong way down a one-way street
- Continually hitting the brakes or stopping in the middle of the road
When law enforcement officers have a reasonable suspicion that a traffic offense or other crime has occurred, they have the authority to pull over drivers and briefly detain them. The officers then investigate to confirm if the individuals are driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs. This investigation may include asking the drivers questions about their behavior, observing for signs of intoxication or drug usage, conducting field sobriety tests, and administering breath tests that measure blood alcohol content (BAC).
Probable Cause in DWI Arrests
If a breath test shows that the BAC of the driver is 0.08 percent or more, then the law enforcement officers have probable cause to arrest the driver for DWI. Even if the breath test does not show the presence of alcohol, other evidence of impairment can lead to probable cause for a DWI arrest.
If drivers showing signs of impairment refuse to take a breath or blood test, there is also probable cause to arrest them. Under Texas implied consent laws, all drivers must undergo chemical testing at the request of a law enforcement officer or be subject to an immediate license suspension.
Discuss your DWI Stop with a Dallas Attorney
Various aspects of Dallas DWI stops are subject to scrutiny to ensure that law enforcement agents have respected the constitutional rights of drivers. Any errors or violations of your rights can make evidence inadmissible and your DWI more difficult to prosecute. Similarly, problems with field sobriety testing, administering breath tests, or reading required statutory advisements to drivers can make a difference in the outcome of a case.
If you were arrested for driving while intoxicated, a criminal defense lawyer could examine the circumstances surrounding your traffic stop to determine whether any violations occurred. If they find any errors, they may be able to use them to your advantage. Call today to discuss your case with an experienced attorney.