What to Expect and What to Do if Pulled Over By Police for Suspicion of DWI.
If you have been pulled over by police for suspicion of DWI in Texas, it is extremely important that you contact Houston DWI Lawyers as soon as possible. Being charged with DWI in Texas is a very serious matter, and Texas DWI Laws can be complicated. Whether you are subjected to Harris County Field Sobriety Tests, Harris County Blood Alcohol Tests or Harris County Breathalyzer Tests, your Houston DWI Attorneys may find cause to question the validity of these tests.
Additionally, there could be problems associated with the police pull over procedure used in your case. It can be difficult, without an experienced Houston Criminal Lawyer by your side, to determine whether your stop had illegal aspects or not, however here are some things to watch out for if you are pulled over by the police on suspicion of DWI in Texas.
When is a Police Pull Over Procedure Illegal? A police officer must have probable cause or reasonable suspicion before he or she can legally stop and search your vehicle, although due to the fact that vehicles are moving, a lower standard is required to lawfully stop a driver. Probable cause means that a reasonably intelligent person would believe the suspect committed a crime. So, a police officer who has probable cause or a reasonable suspicion that a traffic violation or crime has been committed by a driver can usually stop the driver legally.
If there was truly not a sufficient level of suspicion or evidence that a crime has been committed, the traffic stop could be deemed illegal. As an example, if a police officer sees a driver weaving back and forth across the center line, he has reasonable suspicion to believe the driver could be impaired. Conversely, if the police officer pulls over a driver simply because he or she is out driving at 2:00 a.m., this is generally not considered reasonable—or legal.
Sometimes police officers may park outside a club or a bar, watching people go in and out. The police officer may decide that a certain person has been inside for a significant length of time, he or she is probably impaired. If the police officer stops that person based solely on the length of time he or she was inside the bar or club, this does not meet the standard of reasonable suspicion or probable cause.
The police officer must observe a behavior which would definitely indicate impaired driving—sudden braking, excessive speed, failing to stop at a traffic light or stop sign, or lane drifting. In other words, simply leaving a bar, in and of itself, does not provide sufficient cause for a police officer to pull you over, and could be a violation of your constitutional rights. (A DWI checkpoint or roadblock are exceptions to this rule). The Fourth Amendment, as well as certain Texas traffic stop laws protect citizens from unlawful stops, as well as illegal search and seizures. Some actions which are most often considered to trigger probable cause include:
- An expired inspection or registration sticker;
- Excessive speed;
- A stolen license plate;
- A missing license plate;
- Lane drifting;
- Failure to stop at a traffic light or stop sign;
- Vehicle matches the description of a vehicle reported, or
- Visible signs of illegal behavior.
If you were unlawfully pulled over, your Houston DWI Lawyers can use the information to help in your DWI in Texas case. Experienced Houston Criminal Lawyers can potentially prove the stop was not justified in order to have any incriminating evidence against you thrown out. The pullover must not have been reasonable and must have violated the law, however search and seizure laws can be complex and tend to change fairly often. Dash cam videos can often help prove a case of illegal pullover procedure.
Other Unlawful Actions by Police Which Could Help Your DWI in Texas Case - There may be many other unlawful actions from a Texas police officer which occurred during your stop and subsequent DWI in Texas Harris County Arrest. Many people are unaware that Harris County Field Sobriety Tests are not mandatory. These Field Sobriety Tests also have many issues which can render the results inadmissible. Many people are unable to perform the field sobriety tests when they are absolutely sober, because the tests require balance and good hearing and vision (even, perhaps at night). Those who are taking prescription drugs, or who have an illness or medical condition may not be able to perform the tests even if they have had nothing to drink.
Often, the tests are administered by the side of the road, which can be uneven and rocky, causing even those with good balance to stumble. Women could be wearing heels, making it even more difficult for them to complete the tests properly. Harris County Breathalyzer Tests also have problems. The machine might not have been properly calibrated, the police officer might not be properly trained in the use of the machine, or there could be a medical reason the test would register a high BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) even when you have not been drinking.
DWI Pull Overs are Stressful - Whether you have been drinking or not, being pulled over on suspicion of DWI in Texas is a very stressful experience. If you have been drinking, the penalties for a DWI in Texas conviction can be quite severe---and those penalties do not end with potential jail time and fines and fees. A Harris County Arrest and DWI in Texas means you will have Harris County Criminal Records to contend with in the future. These Harris County Criminal Records can cause you to lose your job, or can make it very difficult for you to secure employment in the future. If your position requires a security clearance or a professional license a Harris County Criminal Record can impact where you live and whether you are able to obtain financial aid. A felony DWI in Texas can even prohibit you from owning a gun or voting.
How Houston DWI Lawyers Can Help - If you feel some aspect of your Harris County Arrest for DWI in Texas was unlawful, it is extremely important that you speak to Houston Criminal Defense Attorneys as quickly as possible. The Houston Criminal Defense Lawyers with Payment Plans at Sullo & Sullo will work hard to help you avoid Harris County Criminal Records and Harris County Jail. We understand that facing a Harris County District Attorney on your own can be anxiety-producing, and we can take some of that stress away from you. Call the experienced Houston DWI Lawyers at Sullo & Sullo today.