Whether you’ve committed a crime or not, interacting with the police is an anxiety-inducing event. This feeling can be exasperated further when you’re driving and see cop cars ahead with signs to slow down. Known as a sobriety checkpoints, these roadblocks allow police officers to investigate drivers to find those who may be operating a vehicle under the influence. If faced with a checkpoint, you have rights protected by the state. Keep reading to learn more and discover how a McAllen, Texas DWI lawyer can help you.
What Are Sobriety Checkpoints?
Sobriety checkpoints are stops that allow police officers to inspect vehicles and drivers for signs of impairment of alcohol or drug consumption. Generally, these are located in high-traffic areas at night and are a means to deter drunk drivers.
The officer will likely ask for your license and registration while looking for any signs of alcohol or drug use. This includes slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, alcohol bottles or drug paraphernalia, and the smell of alcohol or drugs. If an officer suspects the driver at the stop is under the influence, they will instruct them to pull further off the road for a more in-depth evaluation.
Are Sobriety Checkpoints Legal in Texas?
Texas is one of 12 states where sobriety checkpoints are not legal. This is because the state’s courts have determined them to be unconstitutional, as they violate the fourth amendment.
This means that information or evidence collected during an unlawful stop is not permissible in court and cannot be used against you. As an alternative, Texas utilizes “no-refusal weekends.” There is a judge on-call to sign warrants as soon as they are notified by a police officer that someone is suspected of driving under the influence and refusing a blood test or breathalyzer. This allows law enforcement to draw blood by any means necessary.
It is essential to note that sobriety checkpoints are legal on Padre Island because this is federal land. The state cannot enforce the law there, as the island follows federal regulations.
What Should I Do if Stopped by an Officer Under Suspicion of Drunk Driving?
If you are stopped by an officer because they believe you are driving under the influence, there are steps you need to take to ensure the stop goes as smoothly as possible. It’s best to comply with the officer’s orders. Refusing a breathalyzer can leave you facing immediate and severe penalties, even if you aren’t under the influence.
If you believe you are the victim of an illegal sobriety checkpoint in Texas, ensuring you contact a lawyer as soon as possible is crucial.
When charged with a DWI, it can have immense effects on the rest of your life. However, at the Law Office of Angel Davila, we can help fight to keep your record clean. Reach out today to discuss the details of your case.