In Texas and other states in the country, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher. Driving while you are intoxicated puts you and others at high risk of injury. This means that police officers are on high alert, looking for any individuals who might be driving unsafely, seemingly drunk or under the influence of drugs.
In many states, police officers use roadside checkpoints to detect drivers who may be intoxicated. These DUI checkpoints deter drunk driving, but they are not legally permissible everywhere depending on state law.
In Texas, the legality of DWI and sobriety checkpoints is debatable. Technically the checkpoints have not been authorized by the Texas government, but this does not mean you will not find yourself in a situation with a checkpoint. After all, many Texas drivers claim they have been stopped as part of a DWI checkpoint.
Checkpoints are more likely to be set up on weekends, especially those surrounding holidays like New Year's Eve. These are peak times for drinking and then getting behind the wheel.
WHAT HAPPENS AT A SOBRIETY CHECKPOINT?
At a checkpoint, police officers typically ask you to roll down your window so they can look for signs of intoxication. They might check your driver's license, registration and insurance. If there are signs of intoxication by the driver, the police officer may request a test.
At this point, the driver has the choice to submit to a breathalyzer or blood test. Refusal to be tested may lead to criminal charges. Texas, like every other state, has a law called implied consent.
Implied consent means that in order for you to have a driver's license in your state, you must sign an agreement that states any driver who refuses a test may have their license suspended automatically. Even if you are stopped at a checkpoint rather than being pulled over, the law stands.
WHAT DO TEXAS LAWS STATE ABOUT SOBRIETY CHECKPOINTS?
According to the state law, sobriety checkpoints violate the law of safety from unreasonable searches as part of the Fourth Amendment in the American Constitution. Additionally, many people object to the idea that warrants can be obtained quickly for a mandatory alcohol test. Some people also state that this may violate medical privacy.
In spite of objections, checkpoints may pop up throughout Texas. Questioning the legality of such checkpoints may not necessarily provide a solid argument to support you in court. The court has upheld sobriety checkpoint charges in the past in spite of legal questions.
Ultimately, you might find yourself facing a DUI or DWI charge even if checkpoints are not technically legal. The best thing you can do is hire a criminal defense attorney who can help you combat these charges.
WHY DO YOU NEED LEGAL HELP AFTER EXPERIENCING A SOBRIETY CHECKPOINT?
There are some legal defenses related to charges from sobriety checkpoints. Working with a criminal defense attorney, you can compile evidence so that you can provide solid defense and evidence in court. Supporting yourself is essential.
One common defense is the use of force in order to extract a blood sample. In the past, refusal to admit to a blood test has led to forcible tests in which blood was taken without consent.
Additionally, there is the argument that the defendant was not drinking or intoxicated. The breathalyzer could have been faulty, or a blood test could have been altered. The key is to find evidence to support your claim.
The Law Office of J. Warren St. John may be able to help you protect your rights in court. Whether you are facing a DWI or you did not consent to a blood test during a checkpoint, you have the right to a strong defense.