Be Careful About What You Say And During A DWI Stop
You may feel obligated to comply with officers’ requests in a traffic stop. However, if you’re being suspected of driving under the influence, you don’t have to cooperate entirely, and it may be in your best interest not to do so.
If a police officer stops you for suspicion of DWI, they have to demonstrate that you are indeed impaired and establish probable cause or get a warrant to investigate. Voluntarily helping the police can actually do you more harm than good in court.
It’s not enough for police to see you break a traffic law to pull you over. Driving slowly or too fast or failure to stop at red lights are contributing factors to a DWI, but more evidence must be collected before going to court. If you offer up information or give them consent, you are giving the evidence to them.
The police will try to find evidence they can use against you in court. However, they can only search a vehicle in certain situations. You could give your consent, but without the consent, they have to try something else, such as:
- Placing you under arrest
- Conduct a search to circumvent potential danger
- Establish probable cause
Despite what you may think, you do not HAVE to do the field sobriety tests. In 2014, Texas had the implied consent law, meaning you consented to officers’ instructions if you were the vehicle’s driver. Today, you have to agree to the test, or the officer must arrest you and conduct the test. If you agree to a test before you are arrested, you are giving them potential evidence to use in court against you.
What Should You Do?
Police who fail to follow the rules are in violation of your constitutional rights and any evidence collected is barred from being submitted to the court. Without any evidence, prosecutors may not get the guilty verdict to convict you.
Be sure you know what your rights are in a traffic stop. You want to follow the law and protect your rights, which can help build a sound defense when charged with a crime.