What Happens When Someone Is Pulled Over On Suspicion Of DWI
If you really want to avoid being placed in the predicament of possibly being arrested for DWI, avoid drinking and driving a car altogether PERIOD. That is the only surefire method to avoid, or to actually mitigate, the chance of an arrest for DWI in Texas. Simply put, do not get behind the wheel of a car if you have been consuming alcohol. More often than not, even when an individual may not be legally intoxicated under Texas law, if they are pulled over by a police officer and admit to consuming alcohol somewhere and perhaps some other observation is made attributed to intoxication, such as the odor of alcohol or blood-shot eyes. Police officers are not in the business of letting people off easy, especially for a possible DWI arrest.
Many of the signs and symptoms observed can be attributed to a factor other than intoxication or alcohol, but their attention is so narrow that is only what they focus on. As such, if you have been drinking alcohol, and are stopped by a police officer, especially during peak hours of the night, such as on a weekend, there is a very high probability an arrest will be made. If you want to avoid being in this position, don’t drink any alcohol and operate a motor vehicle….EVER AND AT ALL. Once the arrest for DWI is made, even if they are wrong – it is not possible to “un-arrest” an individual. Likewise, a chemical specimen, if one is obtained, is not taken until after the arrest and much later, and regardless of the result the situation is the same.
Every DWI investigation, situation, and facts of a case, regardless of the agency or who the investigating police officer is, is completely different and unique. As such, the advice differs in many respects given the many variables that are involved. However, other than completely avoiding drinking any alcohol and driving a vehicle, there are is one thing I can say with absolute and complete certainty….Always remember to exercise your right to remain silent and they can always REFUSE TO PERFORM OR TO GIVE ANY TEST, WHETHER THEY ARE THE TESTS ASKED TO PERFORM AT THE ROADSIDE, AND ALSO WITH ANY CHEMICAL TEST (BREATH OR BLOOD)!!! Do not make any statements, PERIOD.
Usually, it is pretty clear when you are being investigated for possibly driving while intoxicated by a police officer. The questions will usually pretty quickly revert to asking where a person had been previously, where they are going, what they were doing, and ultimately to ask and get the admission on if a person has been drinking alcohol. Almost any statement one could make could often be very incriminating, and can easily and to a large degree make it more difficult to mount a defense for the case later in court. If an officer suspects you’ve been drinking, they will ask you what you had to drink, how much you drank, and even ask whether you believe you’re intoxicated. All those answers will be used against you in court. Therefore, the most important thing you can do is to remain silent and say as little as possible. If you have any amount of alcohol on a Friday or Saturday night and you’re driving between the hours of 11:00 PM and 4:00 AM, know that there are officers everywhere patrolling for DWI. These are prime hours where many DWI patrol officers, who are just tasked with DWI arrests, are looking for individuals to pull over to investigate if they may have been drinking and an arrest for DWI can then be made. They are like sharks looking for prey. Sometimes, officers will just wait outside of a bar for someone to get in their car, follow them, and pull them over.
Police officers cannot just randomly pull people over and DWI checkpoints are illegal in Texas, but even still, it is not difficult to find some justification, or a pretext, for a traffic stop. Once a police officer pulls you over, if you have been drinking, even if you are not intoxicated, usually they will claim to smell the odor of alcohol and the process begins. They may ask you if you’ve been drinking or if you know why they pulled you over. It is important to note to say as little as possible, and if you are asked the question why you were pulled over – DO NOT GUESS. You should never give an answer to why you think you’ve been stopped, because you may actually give them the requisite standard of proof for the traffic stop to be made. It is not uncommon for a police officer to just routinely pull a vehicle over, or to make a mistake about a fact observed that would justify making a traffic stop. If you do give a statement that is an incriminating admission and it turns out they did not have the requisite reasonable suspicion to make the traffic stop, you may have voluntarily given information to justify why they pulled you over. If you admit to drinking, and if they ultimately ask you to get out of your car, and start a line of questions about how much you have had to drink, where, over what time period, what type of alcohol, and especially if they ask if you are willing to perform the roadside sobriety tests – you are being investigated for a charge of DWI and the police officer is now going to attempt to obtain evidence to support a subsequent arrest.
All a police officer needs are reasonable suspicion to make a traffic stop whereby then legal detention occurs. To justify the detention, in the case of a DWI, usually the traffic stop or the reason why they arrive on the scene, they do have to base on if they have reasonable suspicion. They have to base it on something that they believe is criminal activity, based on reasonable suspicion. With a Texas DWI case, reasonable suspicion might develop through a variety of common circumstances. For example, if a police officer observes an individual committing a traffic offense, like speeding, swerving, not using a blinker, having defective equipment on their vehicle, or failing to signal a turn, that could give them the requisite level of reasonable suspicion to make a traffic stop and then detain the person. Another common way scenario where a police officer encounters an individual in this circumstance is when an accident occurs, and also if an individual makes a 911 phone call, indicates some type of an anonymous tip, such as if they believe they observe a vehicle they find suspicion and then may call to report some form of alarming driving behavior.
Often, if you answer their question of why you think they pulled you over, you will give them a reason, which they might not have had otherwise, to justify the detention. That is why if they pose the question of why you were pulled over – you should never guess, even if you are right. Police officers cannot, however, justify making a legal traffic stop without any the proper legal justification and reason even if they strongly suspect an individual of driving while intoxicated. Traffic stops made by a police officer without the necessary reasonable suspicion needed would be doing so in violation of your Constitutional rights, and if this is the case, all evidence could be ruled inadmissible later in court. When this occurs, the citizen accused may have sufficient grounds to make a proper challenge to the arrest for DWI and the criminal case that ensues as a result. If the police lack reasonable suspicion to stop an individual in their car, or to make any form of legal detention, your arrest and/or criminal charges can be contested and possibly lead to a dismissal of the charge.
Does The Officer Generally Inform Someone That They Are Suspected Of Being DWI?
The answer is absolutely no, the police are not required to tell you if you are suspected of DWI. In fact, generally, they almost never will and routinely will not. Once you are pulled over it should become relatively clear that they are trying to question you about how much you have had to drink, and usually will just say they need to see if you are okay and if they can let you leave and be safe driving home. DO NOT BELIEVE THIS TRICK, IT IS A RUSE!
In these scenarios, it is important to realize that most police officers are very good at being nice and establishing a good rapport with the individual they are investigating. They usually act very nice, polite, and that they are just doing their duty to see if you can drive home. They may even imply that if they feel you are not, they will allow for an alternate way possible for you to get home other than driving. They may act concerned for your safety, ask if you will voluntary try to conduct their tests usually conveying how they are just trying to make sure you are okay to drive home. A police officer may even provide the assurance you that they will likely let you go and not be arrested, and you will be free to leave or maybe call a friend to pick you up if you just comply with their requests.
They are good at their job and realize that regardless of how nice they are, they are trying to obtain evidence to arrest you for DWI, and it is always important to realize that merely complying with their requests will almost always wind up with you being arrested and taken to jail. When a police officer pulls you over and begins asking questions, the law only requires you to provide them with your driver’s license and your proof of insurance. You are not required to answer any further questions.
Am I Required To Show A Police Officer My ID During A DWI Investigation?
You do have to identify yourself to the police if you are pulled over or if they arrive at the scene to investigate something like an accident. If you’re pulled over and you have been drinking, the best policy is to crack just enough to allow your window where you can easily hand them the documents they will request, which is usually your driver’s license, proof of insurance, and possibly proof of registration. It is a very good policy to have all of these documents ready and in your hand before the police officer approaches and starts to ask questions. Even though they can usually look up proof of insurance without you provided a physical copy, it is the best policy to have these documents ready and in your hand to give to the police officer through the window. You have to identify yourself, but you’re not required to do anything else. You do not even have to verbally tell them your name, provided you do have proof of your identity, usually this is sufficient with handing to them your Driver’s License.
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