What is Probable Cause for an Arrest in Texas?

The federal constitution requires that a law enforcement officer conduct an arrest only if there is probable cause that a person committed a crime. However, since there is no exact definition of probable cause in the constitution, federal law, or Texas law, this determination can get complicated. To protect yourself from a wrongful arrest, continue reading to learn how Texas views probable cause and how an experienced Hidalgo County, Texas criminal defense lawyer at the Law Office of Angel Davila can come to your defense.

How does probable cause work in the state of Texas?

In the state of Texas, probable cause exists when there is reliable evidence that would lead a law enforcement officer to believe that you committed a specific crime. So, when a law enforcement officer has probable cause, they may do the following:

  • A law enforcement officer may pull you over while driving.
  • A law enforcement officer may search your vehicle.
  • A law enforcement officer may stop you on the street and search you.
  • A law enforcement officer may search your home.

Ultimately, after conducting any of the above actions, the law enforcement officer may arrest you. However, it is essential to note that immediate probable cause is needed to arrest you, or else the law enforcement officer must obtain an arrest warrant from a judge first. Probable cause is usually determined on a case-by-case basis. So, if a judge weighs in on the matter and does not agree with the law enforcement officer, an arrest warrant will not be issued.

How does probable cause work for a DWI arrest in the state of Texas?

In a Texas DWI case, a law enforcement officer does not need to have probable cause for the DWI arrest to make the initial stop, and any sign of a traffic violation will suffice. The essential evidence for the initial stop may be speeding, running a red light, turning without signaling, swerving out of a lane, or otherwise. Then, for a subsequent DWI arrest, a law enforcement officer must give the following reasons for probable cause:

  • The driver smelled of alcohol.
  • The driver stumbled upon exiting the vehicle or handling their driver’s license.
  • The driver slurred their speech.
  • The driver admitted to consuming alcohol.
  • The driver had a blood alcohol content score of .08 or higher.
  • The driver had glassy eyes.
  • The driver failed the field sobriety tests.

It is important to note that a law enforcement officer does not need to conduct a field sobriety test if the available evidence is compelling enough to figure out that the driver is intoxicated.

For more information regarding the relationship between probable cause and DWI arrests, do not hesitate in talking to a skilled McAllen, Texas DWI lawyer today.

Contact Our Hidalgo County, Texas Firm

For quality legal defense for criminal convictions, family law matters, and estate planning matters, contact the Law Office of Angel Davila today.