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To speak or not to speak: Your answer may impact your DWI case

If you've ever been driving down a Texas highway only to notice flashing red and blue lights in your rear view mirror, you likely understand how disconcerting it can be, especially when you realize a police officer is attempting to pull you over in a traffic stop. Depending on traffic flow at the time, it may be quite challenging to find a way to safely pull off the side of the road.

You don't want to take too long to do so because that might make the police officer think you are ignoring the request to stop. Then again, you don't want to act too suddenly because that can place you at risk for collision, which would definitely exacerbate your situation. Once you do come to a stop, however, and the police officer approaches your vehicle, everything that happens from that point on may affect the rest of your life, especially if the officer suspects you of DWI.

Don't forget these Amendments

You have certain constitutional rights that protect you in several ways if a law enforcement officer pulls you over in a traffic stop. The following list highlights three particular Amendments that you may want to keep in mind as you choose what to do or say in such circumstances:

  • If you invoke your Fifth Amendment rights, it means you will not speak because you risk self-incrimination. If a police officer asks you to confirm your identity or answer basic questions regarding vehicle registration, etc., you obviously want to comply. Beyond that, however, you do not have to answer any questions without benefit of legal counsel.
  • The Sixth Amendment protects your right to request legal representation when suspected of DWI or any other crime. If a police officer asks you to get out of your car, consider yourself detained. From that point on, you can request legal assistance.
  • The Fourth Amendment protects you from unlawful searches and seizures. In short, the officer cannot simply rummage through your car without legal probable cause or a search warrant.

If you know you might be facing DWI charges, your stress level might be so high you're having trouble thinking clearly. This is one of many reasons to keep your Constitutional rights in mind at the scene.

Just because a Texas police officer accuses you of a crime does not necessarily mean the court will hand down a conviction. In fact, it doesn't even necessarily mean there will be a trial, especially if you believe an officer has violated your personal rights and wish to submit a challenge in court.

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329 South Guadalupe Street
San Marcos, TX 78666

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