Know Your Rights at a Texas DWI Checkpoint


Texas DWI defense attorneyYou’ve had a couple of drinks. You are stopped at a DWI checkpoint on a Texas roadway. You’ve been caught and might as well accept your fate, right? Wrong.

Even if you think you’ve been nabbed red-handed, you have rights at a DWI checkpoint. While it may appear that the police have all the advantages when stopping motorists for a sobriety check, that’s not the case. You still have your constitutional rights, regardless of the circumstances. And police, whether overconfident, incompetent, or just in error, often make mistakes. In either case, you are not a helpless victim.

Yes, police have the right to briefly stop your vehicle. However, it is important to note that, according to the website Flex Your Rights, police may not search either you or your vehicle unless they have probable cause that you have been drinking or you agree to the search. You also are under no legal obligation to answer their questions.

Police are experts at making leading statements like “I can tell you’ve been drinking.” While it may seem reasonable to respond with “Yes, but I only had a couple of beers,” you could be providing police with the probable cause that they need to search your vehicle or administer a field sobriety test. The first and best piece of advice is simple: never volunteer information to the police, no matter how innocent it may seem.

What happens at a DWI checkpoint can have a devastating impact on your driving record. For example, a first offense can result in a fine of up to $2,000, three to 180 days in jail, loss of license for up to a year, and an annual fee of $1,000 or $2,000 for three years to retain a license, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. Subsequent convictions carry much steeper penalties that can haunt you for years.

Just as important to your future is what happens in the days or weeks after being stopped at a DWI checkpoint. No matter what you do – or don’t do – at the scene, you could become the victim of an overzealous Texas police officer looking to pad their DWI arrest statistics, as well as the state coffers in terms of surcharges, fines and court costs. As a result, you may be facing serious charges.

You might think the police have the law on their side, but Texas DWI lawyer Joseph Labella knows better. He has been specializing in cases like yours for 20 years in the Houston and The Woodlands areas, as well as Conroe, Montgomery and Waller counties. He has a proven track record of success in handling DWI cases. He knows the best way to deal with police and prosecutors, and how to present your case to a jury.

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