Local Texas police resources were tested last year. In Harris County alone a local official estimates that police made nearly 13,000 arrests for alleged driving while intoxicated. If that number seems high, consider the story of a recent awards ceremony that honored a deputy in Harris County’s Precinct 4.
The award, endorsed by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, honored the deputy for his demonstrated commitment to fighting drunk driving and arresting suspected DWI offenders. In this case, the deputy’s normal duties did not even include DWI patrols. Rather, his duties were case investigation and a daily patrol of an assigned area. However, the officer took it upon himself to make time to fight suspected drunk drivers. In a one-year period, the deputy filed 55 charges relating to DWI or impaired driving.
Texas readers may be more familiar with DWI checkpoints. However, this story illustrates that a DWI stop may occur anywhere and be made by any local police officer. What might give readers peace of mind, however, is that their procedural due process rights remain intact, even in the midst of such zealous DWI enforcement campaigns.
For example, probable cause is typically required at each stage of a DWI stop, from the initial stop to subsequent requests for field sobriety testing or chemical testing. In addition, many police cars are now equipped with video cams that will preserve the evidence and allow a jury to review the totality of the circumstances at a later date, should the officer’s motivations be called into question.
Of course, these legal requirements may be difficult to remember in the heat of the moment. Even a driver that has had only one drink might become flustered when pulled over on suspicion of DWI. However, by talking clearly, a driver can ensure that a clean evidentiary record is created, one that might lead to vindication in the hands of an experienced Houston DWI defense lawyer.
Source: yourhoustonnews.com, “Precinct 4 deputy honored for anti-DWI efforts,” May 2, 2013