People accused of driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas can employ different defensive strategies. Some people challenge breath test results or use medical records for their defense. Others will challenge the validity of the traffic stop itself. If the police don’t have any legal reasons to interact with you or detain you, then evidence they gather may not be admissible in the Texas Criminal Court. What are some of the circumstances in which you could challenge a DWI arrest based on the traffic stop?
If you encountered a sobriety checkpoint
Sobriety checkpoints or drunk driving/DWI roadblocks involve police officers temporarily closing a section of a road to screen all the drivers who pass through for signs of impairment. Although there is no law against drunk driving roadblocks in Texas, most police departments don’t bother with them at all.
The Texas courts interpret the constitution in a way that makes sobriety checkpoints unconstitutional. If someone arrested at a DWI checkpoint challenges their arrest, the chances are good that the Texas criminal courts will agree with the defendant.
If the officer didn’t have grounds for a traffic stop
Just leaving a bar or attending a party is not justification for a traffic stop. A police officer needs to have a valid reason to pull you over in the first place before they start to screen you for signs of alcohol impairment.
They don’t have to suspect impairment, but they do need to believe that you likely violated traffic laws somehow. If the officer does not explain that there was an issue with the driving maneuver, traveling speed or condition of your vehicle, then they may not have had a valid reason to stop you at all.
If you have a personal history with the officer
Sometimes, police officers target individuals for personal reasons. Maybe they arrested you once before but you defended against the criminal charges in court successfully. Perhaps you grew up together, and they have always tried to believe you. If you can show a combination of questionable justification for a traffic stop personal history with the officer, that could give you a reason to fight back against the traffic stopped and the DWI charges that resulted from it.
Understanding the rules that govern DWI charges in Texas can help those hoping to defend against pending criminal allegations.