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Houston DWI Lawyer > Blog > DWI > Texas DWI Checkpoints And Your Rights

Texas DWI Checkpoints And Your Rights


Sometimes referred to as sobriety checkpoints, driving while intoxicated (DWI) checkpoints are used to deter and identify impaired drivers. While these checkpoints are designed to enhance public safety, as an individual you need to be familiar with your rights as a Texas driver.

Legal support is available if you find yourself facing DWI charges resulting from a checkpoint stop. Share the details for your arrest with a Houston DWI lawyer, doing so will ensure your rights are upheld and your attorney can begin the process of exploring potential defenses.

Legality of DWI Checkpoints in Texas

There have been many debates and legal challenges over the legality of checkpoints. Challenges have been brought forward because the Fourth Amendment protects citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures, but a landmark ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court (the case of Michigan Department of State Police v. Sitz) states that properly conducted DWI checkpoints do not violate citizen rights considering the potential dangers posed by drunk driving.

To protect the rights of citizens, sobriety checkpoints performed by law enforcement need to follow specific guidelines. During these stops, officers may conduct brief investigations, such as observing the driver’s behavior, checking for the smell of alcohol, and assessing physical coordination through field sobriety tests, but checkpoints must be publicly announced in advance and there needs to be a fair pattern to deciding which vehicles to stop. Neutrality could be established by following a formula, such as stopping every third vehicle.

When approaching a DWI checkpoint, remain calm and keep the following tips in mind.

  • Be familiar with your rights. You have the right to remain silent, which means you can refuse to answer questions, but you need to be polite and respectful when interacting with law enforcement.
  • Provide ID. While you have the right to remain silent, you are required to provide identification and failing to do so at a sobriety checkpoint may result in legal consequences.
  • Refusing tests. In Texas, you have the right to refuse field sobriety tests but refusing a breathalyzer test could lead to a license suspension because the state has implied consent laws in place.
  • Speak carefully. Anything you say can be used against you, so it’s important to avoid volunteering information or admitting to any wrongdoing without talking to a legal professional first.

Throughout the process remember that while DWI checkpoints are legal in Texas, their constitutionality depends on strict adherence to guidelines. Being aware of your rights and knowing how to navigate encounters with law enforcement can help protect your interests.

Building a Defense

If you are detained or charged with a DWI as a result of a Texas checkpoint stop, consult with an experienced attorney. A skilled Houston DWI lawyer will immediately begin to assess the circumstances of your case, determine whether the checkpoint was conducted legally, and build a strong defense on your behalf.

Were you arrested at a sobriety checkpoint? Talk to the legal team at Ayson Law Firm. Experienced lawyers can inform you of your options moving forward. To schedule your no-cost consultation, contact us.

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