Holiday DWI Enforcement Checkpoints

From Thanksgiving to New Year’s, Houston DWI Task Forces will be stopping thousands of drivers on the roads. Approximately, 20 percent will be arrested for DUI. If you are pulled over and asked if you have been drinking, your answer should be that you won’t answer any questions or submit to any field tests until you talk to your lawyer. You have the right to decline these tests, and there are no legal repercussions for doing this.

If you live in the Houston area, expect law enforcement to be extremely diligent with patrols and DWI enforcement during the two weeks leading up to New Year’s Day. Expect increased law enforcement presence along Interstate 10, Interstate 45, and particularly in urban areas.

When deciding whether or not to stop a motorist, police look for a number of indicators. A motorist will be stopped if they make a series of sharp or wide turns, drive too fast or too slowly, or engage in actions behind the wheel that catch the attention of patrolling officers.

If you have been suspected of drunk driving, call the Houston DWI Attorney. An answering service is available 24 hours a day, and a lawyer will call back in just 5 minutes. Keep in mind that these phone consultations are a free public service. The lawyers will assess your situation and advise you on whether or not to take the blood or breath tests.

At the trial, the police officer can’t comment on the fact that you invoked your right to remain silent and refused to take the field test. The officer can only offer his subjective view of the events such as he pulled you over, smelled alcohol, and arrested you. The jury may wonder why you were arrested if there wasn’t any hard evidence of your being drunk. The burden of proof is on the state.

Field Sobriety Checkpoints

When the police set up a sobriety checkpoint, they pull over vehicles according to a predetermined plan. When a vehicle is pulled over, an officer will approach the driver and if the officer’s encounter with the driver causes him or her to believe that the driver may be under the influence of alcohol, the officer will subject the driver to the field sobriety tests.

If the driver fails the field sobriety tests or refuses to take the field sobriety test, the officer will ask the driver to undergo a breath test. At a field sobriety checkpoint, the officers do not subject every driver to a breath test. Only those drivers whom the officers believe are driving under the influence of alcohol are subject to a breath test.

Generally, advance notifications are issued by the police department about the setting up of field sobriety checkpoints. State laws impose certain criteria to which the checkpoints must adhere in order to be valid checkpoints.

No Refusal Weekends

During times of increased enforcement, the state will frequently use “no refusal” events to expedite BAC testing. A “no refusal” weekend is typically held around major holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, Independence Day, and Memorial Day. However, any large event that is likely to have people celebrating and then driving on Texas roads can result in increased traffic enforcement.

During “no refusal” weekends and holidays, prosecutors, magistrates, and judges will be on standby for anyone who refuses BAC testing during a DWI stop. As a result, police can obtain a warrant for a BAC blood test much more quickly, resulting in more accurate results. If you continue to refuse after the police have a warrant, you will be arrested and your driver’s license may be suspended for a longer period of time than would otherwise be the case.