3 Things You Need to Know Before You Get Arrested for DWI in Texas
The reality is that a lot of people don’t get pulled over for “DWI”, swerving in and out of lanes. They get pulled over for speeding, for failure to signal while changing lanes, for failure to signal when turning, for failure to come to a full and complete stop at a stop sign. If you want to avoid interactions with law enforcement in general, whether you’ve been drinking or not, the best practice is to follow the traffic laws, especially the ones I mentioned. And if you have been drinking: Take an Uber! Or Lyft! Go old school and call a cab! I don’t care, stay off the road!
So without further ado, 3 things you need to know if you get pulled over for DWI in Texas:
- You have the right to remain silent and have an attorney present during questioning.
- You have the right to refuse a field sobriety test.
- You have the right to refuse to give a sample of your breath or blood.
(1) YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT AND ASK FOR A LAWYER! That means you don’t have to answer the officer’s questions about how much you’ve had to drink, what you had to drink, when you drank it, where you were before, where you are going next, etc. Keep in mind that everything you say from the time the officer approaches your vehicle to the time you get booked into jail is recorded multiple ways. What you say, how you say it, how fast you talk, how slow you talk, your inflection- it will be scrutinized and used against you in court if possible. So be quiet and call a Denton DWI Lawyer ASAP!
Pro-tip- As a prosecutor and defense attorney, I’ve reviewed hundreds upon hundreds of videos of Denton DWI arrests and everyone always says they have had 2 drinks. Most of the time say 2 because they can acknowledge they have been drinking without admitting to drinking enough to be considered legally intoxicated. You aren’t fooling anyone. Just remember- you don’t have to say anything at all.
How Do I Invoke My Right to Remain Silent?
At any point during an interaction with a police officer, you can simply say “I want to speak to a lawyer before I answer any more questions”, or if you can’t remember that, just say “Lawyer.” They’ll know what you mean. And you don’t have to say anything else. Turns out, one of the best ways to invoke your right to silence is to ask for a lawyer. Now, the officer may tell you that you don’t have a right to an attorney at that point or that you cannot call one. But they are wrong, and when you invoke your right an attorney, that cannot be used against you later at a trial.
Real talk: If you get pulled over an immediately ask for a lawyer, or the officer asks you about drinking and then you ask for a lawyer, chances are you are going to jail. And I say this not to discourage you from exercising your rights. Quite the opposite. Especially if the officer asks you drinking, there’s a good chance they believe they already have probable cause to arrest you for DWI, based on your driving, or how you look, or because they smell alcohol on your breath. But that is for a court to decide, and for your lawyer to argue against on your behalf. The main reason they are asking you questions about drinking and asking you to perform field sobriety tests is to gather more evidence to use against you in court. And you don’t have to give it to them. Remain silent and call a Denton DWI attorney today!
Also remember that everything you do and say during most traffic stops is recorded. That’s true for the initial interaction, anything that happens outside of the car, and if you end up in the backseat of the squad car. So if the officer arrests you, and asks you if you want to make a phone call right there on scene, don’t take the bait. You will get a chance to get a number from your phone and make a call at the jail. Don’t talk to yourself or the officer on the ride from the scene to jail. Be silent!
(2) YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE FIELD SOBRIETY TESTS. You know these tests, the eye test, the one where you have to walk the line and count your steps, the one where you have to stand on one leg for 30 seconds. You don’t have to take them. And for my money, if the officer is asking you to perform these tests, they have more than likely already decided to arrest you for DWI. For a lot of people, these tests are hard to perform even if you have had nothing to drink. Even if you are confident in your ability to pass these tests, remember that every misstep will be scrutinized and used against you in court. Now, the other side of this is that the prosecution can the fact that you refused to perform the tests as evidence against you, but in most cases that is far weaker evidence than the video of you performing the tests. So, it’s your call, but if you have any hesitation that you won’t be able to pass those tests, remember that you can refuse to take them.
(3) YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE TO PROVIDE A SAMPLE OF YOUR BREATH OR BLOOD.