What should you do when stopped for DWI?

| Apr 17, 2018 | blog

If you drive drunk in Texas, then you can be certain the cops will pull you over. It does not even matter if you are famous, as Lou Diamond Phillips recently discovered. Earlier in April, he pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol and will serve two years probation. 

It is important to know your rights when the cops pull you over. Regardless if you had zero, one or five drinks, you do not want to give the officers any reason to arrest you. Know how to behave during these traffic stops.

Provide ID

Similarly to any other traffic stop, the officer will ask for your driver’s license, insurance and registration. Provide all this without making a fuss. You also need to provide your name, but you do not have to give any more information than that. If the cop asks you if you had anything to drink that evening, then you can say you wish to utilize your right to remain silent. You do not have to say anything about what you did that evening, and the officer could use any information against you later in court. 

Use your right to refuse a field test if you want

If you genuinely had nothing to drink, then you have nothing to worry about. However, even having two alcoholic drinks can impair your ability to pass field sobriety tests, such as standing on one leg. The officer may not tell you these tests are completely voluntary. You do not have to consent to them because the officer has not arrested you yet. 

Comply with Texas’ implied consent laws

However, Texas has implied consent laws. This means if the cop actually places you under arrest, then you inherently agree to take a breathalyzer or blood test. You can naturally refuse these as well, but refusal will come with automatic penalties. The DMV will suspend your license for up to 180 days for a first offense. Refusing may be best to avoid a DWI conviction, but after arrest, you should immediately tell the cop you wish to speak with your lawyer.