DWI is a serious problem throughout the state of Texas. Each year, the number of DWI-related accidents and injuries climbs, leading to stiffer enforcement. However, that does not mean that officers can order a blood test for no reason on a random traffic stop. They must have probable cause. Without probable cause, the case falls apart. What should you know about it?
First, understand that probable cause does not apply to a traffic stop. An officer does not need to have probable cause to pull you over – just reasonable suspicion. Usually, this is due to some sort of erratic behavior, such as speeding up and slowing down, not maintaining your lane, driving at night with your lights off, and more. However, it may also be something as simple as a headlight or taillight being out. There just needs to be reasonable suspicion of some sort of illegal activity or behavior. However, it cannot just be a “gut” feeling. The officer must be able to cite some sort of concrete reason for the stop.
Probable Cause to Search
Once you’ve been stopped, things change. Now is when the officer must find probable cause if they are going to search your vehicle or your person. This can come in any number of forms, such as smelling alcohol on your breath, seeing an open container in the car, or the officer noting other types of intoxicated behavior. If there is probable cause, the officer will ask you to submit to a breath test (and possibly roadside sobriety testing). If you refuse to take the test, your license will be automatically suspended for 180 days. Depending on the results of the test (0.8 BAC or higher), the officer then has probable cause to search your vehicle and person.
In the state of Texas, blood testing for DWI cases requires a warrant. To obtain a warrant, the officer will need probable cause, and must go through the proper channels. Any sort of deviation here could be grounds for the test results to be inadmissible in court, or even for the case to be dismissed.
Have you been charged with DWI? If so, you need experienced legal representation. Call us at The Blacknall Firm today to discuss your case and how we can fight for you. You can reach us at 214-678-9111.