Understanding Texas DWI Checkpoint Laws

June 24, 2020

Car drivers in Texas are often confused about the legal status of checkpoints, which are typically used on holiday weekends and other such days when the incidence of drunk driving is higher. It is important to be aware of Texas DWI checkpoint laws so that you are in a better position to handle a situation when a police officer stops you to check your sobriety.

Legality of DWI Checkpoints

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Your Texas DWI lawyer will explain to you the state’s courts have not given legitimacy to DWI checkpoints. In 1991, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals gave a ruling that these checkpoints violate a motorist’s Fourth Amendment rights. In other words, at least in Texas DWI checkpoint laws do not have constitutional validity.

If a law enforcement officer has stopped or arrested you at a DWI checkpoint in the state, you should speak to a Texas DWI lawyer at the first opportunity. It is possible that your arrest has violated your rights and a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney will fight to protect your rights.

However, you should know that law enforcement in Texas can detain you if they have a reasonable suspicion that you were driving while intoxicated. When a police officer notices that you are exhibiting known symptoms of intoxicated driving, such as alcohol on your breath, red eyes, slurred speech, or unstable walk, they may stop you and subject you to a sobriety test.

If you fail this test, chances are that the officer will ask you to take a breathalyzer test for drunk driving. You have a right to refuse to submit yourself to this test. However, your refusal will be used against you during the criminal trial that will follow.

DWI Checkpoints may be Approved with Conditions

Even when the US Supreme Court or a state supreme court approves DWI checkpoints (as they have done in the past), the state will be required to make an advance announcement of the time, date, and location where the checkpoints will be set up. In addition, the state should meet the following conditions in order to maintain the legal status of the checkpoints:

·        The intrusion to the motorists going through the checkpoint is minimal

·        The state has demonstrated its interest in protecting people from potentially drunk drivers

·        The state can prove that DWI checkpoints actual help in improving public safety

Implied Consent Law in Texas

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A discussion on Texas DWI checkpoint laws is incomplete without a reference to the implied consent law in the state. All motorists in Texas are required to abide by the law of implied consent. It says that when you are driving a vehicle on the road, you have automatically given your consent to being subjected to a sobriety test in the event of your arrest.

Consult with a Competent Texas DWI Lawyer Today

If you have been charged with a DWI in Texas because you refused to take a breath test or failed it at a roadside checkpoint, talk to our experienced DWI attorneys at Flood & Associates. In 2018, we held the record for maximum no guilty verdicts and maximum wins in all DWI and criminal cases set for trial in Harris County. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation or case review, call our legal team at 713.224.5529 now or contact us online.


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