Aggressive Criminal

Are DWI checkpoints legal in Texas?

On Behalf of | Criminal Defense |

In most states, the police are allowed to use DWI checkpoints. These systems have been implemented in at least 37 states, and they have been determined to be legal. At such a checkpoint, the police are allowed to stop any vehicle that approaches that checkpoint, and they may decide to give the driver a breath test or field sobriety tests if they believe that driver is impaired.

However, this process is very controversial. After all, the police typically need to have a reason to stop a car prior to investigating any level of impairment. A DWI checkpoint feels much more like a random traffic stop, which would be a violation of that driver’s rights.

They have been deemed unconstitutional in Texas

The short answer is that no, you should never encounter a DWI checkpoint in Texas. State courts have deemed that they are unconstitutional. The way that the police carry out such checkpoints is, in fact, a violation of the drivers’ rights. Texas is in the minority of states where the practice has been prohibited.

What this means is that officers still have to have a valid reason to stop your car before they can pull you over. Their rationale could be very simple. Maybe the light turned green and you failed to drive forward in a prompt manner. A police officer in a car behind you may believe that you are impaired and could stop you to check. Police can also pull cars over for things like broken headlights, expired registration or other simple driving mistakes.

But it is still important that they do things in the proper order. If an officer makes a random stop without any reason, even if they do find evidence of impairment after the fact, they have still violated a driver’s rights under the Fourth Amendment. Anyone who is facing serious criminal charges needs to be sure about all of the legal options at their disposal, especially if they believe that such a violation of their rights has occurred in Texas.