The 411on Reasonable Suspicion and DWI Stops in Texas

Being charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas can be very serious and  may leave an irreversible blemish on your criminal record.  You may also have trouble getting a job or being accepted to a college or university.  Every step that takes place after being pulled over by a police officer is crucial.  Accordingly, if you are facing DWI charges, or have been arrested under the suspicion of driving while impaired, you should ask yourself the following:  did the police officer have the power to pull you over in the first place?  This is a question that everyone should ask immediately after being charged with driving while intoxicated.

Oftentimes, people believe that the second they are pulled over, they are automatically in trouble, whether guilty or not.  Police officers are in a position to intimidate the person who they have pulled over.  The act of being pulled over itself can create fear and anxiety.  With all of this anxiety, many people forget that police officers must follow a certain set of important rules to protect your constitutional rights.

Under Texas law, an officer may pull a driver over if he or she has “reasonable suspicion” that the driver is committing a crime.  Reasonable suspicion is subjective in that an officer’s feeling or opinion about a driver’s conduct is what gives him or her the authority to pull the driver over for a limited investigation.  While officers are supposed to have a strong basis for their reasonable suspicion that a driver is committing a crime, such as driving while intoxicated, many officers find nearly any reason to pull someone over.  If no reasonable suspicion exists, then a DWI charge may be dismissed.

What Are Some Examples that Give Rise to “Reasonable Suspicion” in Texas?

 Officers may believe they have reasonable suspicion that a driver is driving while intoxicated when they observe the following conduct:

  • Weaving across lanes;
  • Turning without a signal;
  • Erratic driving, with frequent changes in speed;
  • Failing to stop at a stop sign, or coming to a rolling stop;
  • Running a red light; and
  • Causing an accident, or making contact with objects along the roadside (such as light polls or signs).

An officer’s interpretation of reasonable suspicion could be legitimate if any of the above behaviors are obvious, but he or she has a huge amount of discretion to determine if a driver appears to be driving while intoxicated.  While all officers should act in accordance with the law, respecting your constitutional rights, some officers take advantage of a driver being unaware of the law.

With the help of a seasoned Dallas DWI Defense Attorney, you may be able to have your charge dismissed completely if the officer who pulled you over did not have reasonable suspicion.  If you have been charged with a DWI, it is important to act fast so that your attorney can quickly address the officer’s misconduct in pulling you over.  The longer you wait, the less likely you will be able to avoid a DWI on your record.

Contact Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney Jack Pettit Today

If you or someone you know has been charged with a DWI, it is imperative that you consult with a Texas Criminal Defense Attorney as soon as possible.  Your constitutional rights are at stake and you need someone by your side to protect those rights, no matter what!  Attorney Jack Pettit has more than thirty years of experience and focuses a large portion of his criminal defense law practice on defending clients charged with a DWI.  Mr. Pettit has helped his clients receive the best possible outcome to a DWI charge, whether that be having the charge dismissed or resolving the matter with very little punishment.  Mr. Pettit will defend your rights to the fullest.  Contact Dallas DWI Defense Attorney Jack Pettit today at (214) 521-4567 to schedule an initial consultation.  Our office provides bilingual services in both English and Spanish, and also accepts major credit cards.

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