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What should you do when you are pulled over for a DWI stop?

The flashing lights of a police cruiser in your rearview mirror can be terrifying. Often, Texas law enforcement officials initiate stops when they suspect drivers are under the influence of alcohol. If you are being pulled over and believe it may be because of alcohol suspicions, there are some important steps you can take to protect your rights.

Stop somewhere safe

Drivers who are pulled over are expected to stop their vehicles as quickly as possible. However, not all locations are safe. A driver who is being pulled over should do so as quickly as they can while protecting their own safety and the safety of the officer in the vehicle behind them.

Exercise politeness and restraint

It can be frustrating to be stopped by a law enforcement official but exercising politeness can go a long way. Showing courtesy and respect for the officer may not prevent you from being cited or arrested, but it will demonstrate cooperation and compliance during the process.

Similarly, when pulled over you do not have to expand on any answers to the officer’s questions that do not serve your interests. If an officer asks if you have been drinking, answering honestly is appropriate but engaging in a discussion on how much may hurt your case. Polite and succinct answers are appropriate during traffic stops.

Understand roadside tests

During a stop, an officer may ask you to perform coordination tests through sobriety assessments. You do not have to do this, but declining participation may result in greater suspicion on the part of the officer. It is important that drivers consider their own interests when deciding whether to perform roadside or field sobriety tests.

Prepare for arrest

Based on what they have seen and the evidence available, an officer may choose to arrest a driver. Once arrested, you should know and protect your rights. You may remain silent, and you may retain your own attorney. You may be asked to take a blood or breath test, and as Texas is an implied consent state, your denial of this test may result in the suspension of your license.

All this is a lot to remember, but drivers have rights and interests to protect when they are stopped because of suspected DWI. If arrested, you may have an opportunity to prepare and argue a defense to combat your own DWI case. A trusted and knowledgeable Texas DWI attorney can be an asset as both a counselor of the law and advocate in the courtroom.

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