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Best practices during a Texas DWI traffic stop

On Behalf of | Oct 18, 2022 | Criminal Defense

An unexpected stop for suspicion of driving while intoxicated (DWI) is already a potentially serious situation. The last thing you want to do is worsen your circumstances by antagonizing the police officer.

Tension is high during police-civilian encounters, making it easy to aggravate matters unintentionally. Be on your best behavior during the stop to avoid making your situation more problematic.

Be prepared for possible stops

You always hope the police will give you a friendly nod and keep driving if you see them. Still, always have your documents (proof of insurance, registration, driver’s license, etc.) handy in case a traffic stop occurs.

It shows the officer that you are organized. It will also keep you from having to fumble around to look for these documents, which can make an officer nervous and can be used as evidence of intoxication.  Being prepared can also help the traffic stop end faster.

Stay calm and polite

If you believe the traffic stop violates your rights, refrain from lashing out at the police officer. Remain calm and respond to the officer’s questions with short answers. If possible, answer with single words like yes and no. The police cannot claim you displayed slurred speech when you respond as briefly as possible.

Never approach or touch the officer

You do not want an officer to feel threatened.  You can face an assault of a public servant charge if you make contact with the officer and cause pain.  An assault against an on-duty police officer is always a felony under Texas law.  Your goal is for the officer to not remember you.  Behavior perceived as threatening or aggressive is memorable and will prolong the stop.

Hopefully, the police will send you on your way after a traffic stop. If the encounter leads to a DWI arrest, it’s wise to seek legal guidance so that you can explore the defense options at your disposal.