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Do Texas motorists need to fear sobriety checkpoints?

On Behalf of | Jan 19, 2022 | Criminal Defense

Texas is not a state known to be soft on crime. However, it does place major emphasis on an individual’s rights and liberties. Therefore, Texas drivers don’t have to worry about getting caught up in the dragnet of a sobriety checkpoint.

So, what exactly are these checkpoints?

The purpose of sobriety checkpoints is to get impaired drivers off the road before they maim or kill themselves and others. Law enforcement officers set up predetermined traffic stops where a randomized formula determines which vehicles must stop and interact with officers by producing documents, including:

  • Valid driver’s license
  • Proof of insurance
  • Vehicle registration

During these interactions, the officers will be looking for signs of intoxication or drug impairment. The stops can then escalate into DUI arrests.

Why is Texas exempt?

Texas courts determined that the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, the right against unreasonable searches and seizures, prevents law enforcement from setting up sobriety checkpoints. There are 11 other states that, using various justifications, prohibit these kinds of checkpoint operations.

Drunk driving convictions are still very serious

Don’t mistake this legal interpretation as an indication that you can drink and drive with impunity here in the Lone Star state. Around the winter holidays, police work special details patrolling the roads looking for signs of intoxicated drivers.

A conviction for driving while intoxicated (DWI) can uproot your otherwise orderly life. You could wind up losing your CDL license or your job. It could even get you deported back to your country of origin away from your family, depending upon your immigration status.

Build a strong defense strategy

Your defense to DWI charges begins with your detention and arrest. Invoke your right to remain silent and don’t respond to police questioning until you have spoken to a criminal defense attorney.