When stopped by a police officer for DWI, you have rights. Knowing your rights during a DWI stop could be the difference between conviction and acquittal. Police often make mistakes during arrest. Infringements on your rights will result in inadmissible evidence or dropped charges.
Reasonable Suspicion & Probable Cause
The arresting officer must have reasonable suspicion to pull you over and probable cause to arrest you. Reasonable suspicion must be based on observed behavior. Probably cause is a higher level of proof that requires either test results or physical evidence.
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 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, test refusal receives 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. Additionally, a refusal will be used as evidence that you were 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