The constitutionality of sobriety DWI roadblocks / checkpoints is a divisive issue nationwide. Currently, 38 states allow these sobriety checks while 12 states do not.
The issue is whether or not this violates a U.S. citizen’s Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure. A DWI arrest based on a sobriety checkpoint or roadblock in Texas is illegal. An experienced DWI defense lawyer serving the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex will fight to get your DWI charge dismissed.
DWI Roadblocks / Checkpoints Defense Lawyer in Irving, Dallas, Carrolton, Richardson, TX
A DWI charge is a serious offense in Texas with serious penalties. If you have been arrested and charged with DWI, contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today at (972) 233-5700 for a consultation about your alleged offense in Irving, Dallas, Carrolton, Richardson, and surrounding areas of Dallas County, Texas.
They will fight to protect your rights while working to expose cracks in the prosecution’s case in order to better your chances of a favorable outcome.
Texas DWI and Implied Consent Defined
The definition of what constitutes a DUI offense in Texas is found in Tex. Penal Code Section § 49.04 is known as Driving While Intoxicated, or DWI. According to this statute, it is illegal for anyone to be intoxicated while operating a vehicle in a public place. An intoxicated person is defined by Tex. Penal Code Section § 49.01 as a person having a blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) at or over the Texas legal limit of .08, which is “per se” intoxication, or someone who has lost the normal use of his or her physical or mental faculties due to the presence of alcohol, drugs, controlled substances, or other impairing substance in his or her system.
According to this definition of intoxication, it would be possible to be arrested for DWI if you don’t feel intoxicated if your BAC is at or above .08. Additionally, having the right to an impairing substance, such as a prescription, is rejected as a valid defense by statute in Texas. If an officer pulls you over for a traffic defense or because he or she suspects DWI and they detect the presence of alcohol, he or she will likely request testing like a breath test or field sobriety testing. If no alcohol is detected but the officer still suspects impairment, a blood test will likely be requested.
Since Texas is an implied consent state as defined in Tex. Transp. Code § 724.11, you have already given your consent to these DWI tests by driving on Texas roads. You do not, however, have to consent.
In addition, if you refuse to test you can’t be forced to test against your will except for in very specific, limited circumstances. However, this refusal is grounds for an administrative license suspension and is admissible to court as evidence. If you are stopped and the law enforcement officer requests a DWI test, don’t refuse – but politely request to speak with your Dallas DWI defense lawyer before giving your answer.
DWI Roadblocks and Checkpoints Explained
In states where DUI roadblocks or DUI checkpoints are allowed, they are locations on public roads where law enforcement officers are specifically stationed to check drivers for intoxication and impairment. A DUI roadblock is usually referred to when a road is blocked off specifically to check each driver passing through for the presence of alcohol or drugs. A DUI checkpoint can be just a place where one or more law enforcement officers are stationed and stop certain vehicles based on a preselected numeric value, like every third vehicle.
Often these terms are used interchangeably since the concept of checking most or all drivers in one particular area is the same. Most states that allow these DUI checkpoints or roadblocks also require specific guidelines to be followed, usually determined by the statute that explicitly authorizes sobriety checkpoints.
If you have been arrested for a DUI offense in another state due to a DUI sobriety checkpoint, or you suspect that your Texas DWI arrest was the result of a DWI checkpoint, it is important to contact an experienced DWI defense lawyer as soon as possible.
DWI Roadblocks / Checkpoints and Texas
In the United States, there are 12 states that outlaw DUI sobriety checkpoints and roadblocks. Texas is one of those states. While not outlawed specifically by statute as in some of the other 12 states that don’t allow DUI checkpoints, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled in a case from 1991 that DWI sobriety checkpoints violated a Texan’s Fourth Amendment rights and were thus unconstitutional. The ruling allowed for DWI roadblocks to occur only if the Texas Legislature established guidelines.
The subject is a heated debate amongst Texas lobbyists, lawmakers, and other legal entities. Though no guidelines have been set by the Legislature as of early 2013, that could change at any point in future sessions. If you believe you received your DWI arrest as a result of what could be considered a sobriety checkpoint in Texas, consult with an experienced DFW DWI defense lawyer immediately.
If guidelines have been set, your attorney will make sure they were followed and your rights were protected. If guidelines have not been set, he or she will fight to prove the arrest was due to an illegal DWI sobriety checkpoint or roadblock and get your charges dismissed.
Find A Dallas County Defense Attorney for Charges from a DWI Roadblocks / Checkpoint | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy
Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today at (972) 233-5700 for a consultation about your alleged offense in Irving, Dallas, Carrolton, Richardson, and surrounding areas of Dallas County, Texas.
They will fight to get your Dallas DWI case reduced or dismissed, including if the stop was an unconstitutional DUI roadblock or checkpoint.