What Are Your Rights During a DWI Stop?
Knowing your rights during a DWI stop could be the difference between conviction and acquittal. Any infringement on these rights should result in evidence being ruled inadmissible and the charges against you dropped. If you are stopped by a police officer under suspicion of DWI, you have rights that you need to know.
You Cannot Be Stopped or Arrested Based on a Hunch
The arresting officer must have reasonable suspicion to pull you over and probable cause to arrest you. Reasonable suspicion is a belief you are drunk based on observed behavior. Probably cause is a higher level of proof that requires either test results or physical evidence. If either standard is not met, a good DWI lawyer will get the evidence against you dismissed.
You Have The Right to Remain Silent – To a Point
The 5th Amendment protects you against self incrimination, so you do not need to answer any of the questions an officer asks. To clarify, you don’t need to answer any of the small talk they engage in trying to get you to incriminate yourself. However, you do have to provide your name, driver’s license, and current address. Failing to provide or purposefully providing wrong personal information is a criminal offense under Texas law.
Refusing is “Failure to Identify”, a misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $4,000 and a year in jail.
You Have The Right To Refuse Field Sobriety & Chemical Tests
An officer may request you take a field sobriety test or submit to a blood or breath test. Without a warrant, it is only a request and you are within your rights to refuse. However, refusing does come with consequences.
In most cases, refusing a test will be punished with a 180 day driver’s license suspension. This will be increased to 24 months if you have already been convicted of a DWI or refused a DWI test in the past. Your refusal will also be used by the prosecutor as evidence that you were knowingly drunk.
You Have the Right to a Vigorous Legal Defense.
Houston DWI attorney Clyde W. Burleson, P.C. knows and understands the scientific techniques and equipment used in a DWI charge. Don’t lose your case because you fail to fully exercise your DWI rights under the law. Clyde has served as an Assistant District Attorney and as one of the chief prosecutors for the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, so he knows first-hand how the prosecution works and thinks. If you are in need legal representation for a DWI arrest, contact Houston DWI attorney Clyde Burleson anytime day or night at 713-628-1503