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What to Expect if Pulled Over for DWI in Texas

Being stopped by police can be a nerve-wracking experience. The tension only increases when the officers begin treating the driver as if they believe the driver is intoxicated. Texas drivers should know what commonly occurs during DWI stops so they are prepared in the event that they get pulled over.

Police Methods for Finding Drivers Under the Influence

Police officers need a reason to stop a driver to check and see if the driver is intoxicated. Valid reasons include if police observe erratic driving, speeding, slowing down abruptly, swerving, unsignaled lane changes or failing to stop or yield when required.

If a police officer does stop a driver, the officer looks for physical signals that the driver has consumed alcohol, such as bloodshot eyes, slurred speech or an odor of alcohol on the driver.

If the officer suspects the driver is intoxicated, the officer may ask the driver to complete several field sobriety tests, including:

  • Walking in a straight line heel-to-toe and turning
  • Balancing on one foot
  • Following a pen with the eyes
  • Saying the alphabet

If a driver does not perform well on the tests, the officer may then request that the driver take a preliminary breath test. The driver can refuse this PBT with no repercussions, but if the officer believes the driver is intoxicated the officer will likely arrest the driver at that point and have the driver take a chemical test while in custody.

Texas' Implied Consent Laws

Like other states, Texas has an “implied consent” law, which means that in exchange for the privilege of holding a Texas driver’s license, a person agrees to take a chemical test if an officer ever requests it after an alcohol-related driving arrest.

If a person refuses a chemical test after arrest for suspicion of DWI, the person faces a 180 day license suspension — even if the DWI charges are subsequently dismissed. A second refusal within 10 years of the first results in a two-year license suspension.

Talk to a Lawyer

A DWI charge is a serious matter. Authorities prosecute these cases vigorously, and those facing DWI charges should have someone working just as hard for them. If you have been charged with DWI, consult with an adept criminal defense attorney who can advocate for your rights.

Abstract : Texas drivers should know what commonly occurs during DWI stops so they are prepared in the event that they get pulled over.