Texas drivers’ rights during a DWI stop

Texas enforcement efforts against DWI are more aggressive than ever. For example, over the New Year’s Eve weekend, Houston-area authorities made 27 DWI arrests.

Their efforts included at least three search warrants issued for blood, 10 breath tests ranging from 0.094 to 0.253, one mandatory sample, six refusals, and 10 voluntary blood samples.

The search warrants were obtained through Texas’ No Refusal Program, a cooperative effort between several Texas agencies and officials. In the program, prosecutors prepare search warrants for DWI suspects arrested by police and present the warrants to judges for review. If the judge signs the warrant, a mandatory blood sample is taken by a nurse also hired with program funds.

Many Texas readers will agree that being stopped by a DWI patrol can be an intimidating experience, even for sober drivers. During the stop, a driver is required by law to provide their name and current address to the questioning officer, as well as a copy of their vehicle registration, proof of insurance, and driver’s license. Yet many readers may not realize that the scope of an officer’s questioning is not unbounded.

Any lawful order of a police officer must also be followed during a DWI stop. Yet Texas readers should also be aware of their drivers’ rights during a DWI stop. For example, a driver typically has a right to refuse to answer certain questions or to provide his or her consent to searches and field sobriety tests.

If a driver was ordered to submit to a test or search despite withholding consent, an experienced DWI attorney might be able to mount a legal challenge on that issue.

Source: yourhoustonnews.com, “Extra DWI patrols for New Year’s Eve,” Dec. 31, 2012

The Law Office of Tad Nelson & Associates

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