What Are My Rights During a DWI Arrest?

Drivers cannot be arrested at random. There must be a valid reason before they can be taken into custody. If the charge is Driving While Intoxicated, then the police must first obtain evidence that the person exceeded the blood alcohol content limit or lost the normal ability to drive due to the consumption of substances.

Rights must still be respected. Otherwise, the charge could be dismissed, or the evidence gathered may be deemed inadmissible. The officers who make the arrest should follow the procedure and make sure that they do not overstep the boundaries.

The Right to Be Free from Unreasonable Searches

The police cannot just stop any car that they want. There must be probable cause for making a driver pull over and answer questions. For example, they may have seen a vehicle going past at a speed that exceeds the limit. They could have also spotted a car that is moving at an erratic pace and swerving from side to side. Since these are dangerous behaviors, they can follow the car and ask the driver to pull over to the side. They can issue a ticket for reckless driving or pose questions to check if this is a case of drunk driving. The police cannot search the vehicle without the driver or owner’s consent.

The Right to Remain Silent

While the officers are asking questions, the driver may choose not to answer if he does not want to. The police cannot force people to respond. They should just remain calm and wait for the ordeal to finish. Anything that is said during this questioning may be used against the person later, so it is best to stay silent rather than risk self-incrimination. Answers can be provided later with the help of a competent legal professional, if necessary.

The Right to Refuse Testing

Police officers will need to gather evidence before a DWI arrest can be made. This is to ensure that the case has merit. They can try a breath test, a field sobriety test, or both. For the breath test, the driver must breathe into a device which will then measure the alcohol content in his body. For the field sobriety test, the driver will have to get out of the car and perform the field tests in sequence. This will require some walking and balancing. Drivers can refuse to take any of these tests, especially if they do not understand the instructions or feel that they will not be able to complete them in an accurate manner. However, this may have its own consequences such as license suspension.

The Right to an Attorney

Lastly, those arrested have the right to have legal representation. They can choose an attorney to help them with the case. It is best to get an experienced DWI attorney in Tarrant County who has mastered all the complex laws and knows the court’s tendencies. Attorneys will make sure that you avoid committing any mistakes and that your rights are protected at every step.

Posted In Law