Determining Probable Cause to Arrest

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An attack on the officer's stop can be a powerful way of defeating the state's DWI case, but it is by no means the only way of defending a DWI case. Even if the officer had cause to stop for a traffic violation, he may only seize a person on the side of the road for the amount of time necessary to effectuate the purpose of the stop. Unless the officer has reasonable suspicion to believe the driver is intoxicated, he or she must issue the ticket and release the driver.

If the officer has no information to believe the driver had been drinking alcohol or was otherwise impaired, they cannot then continue on with the investigation. In other words, an officer cannot just ask just any driver to stay on the side of the road and submit to embarrassing field sobriety tests.

Oftentimes, the officer may testify at trial with different reasons why an arrest occurred following a stop, including:

  • Driver smelled of alcohol
  • Driver tumbling upon exiting the vehicle
  • Driver had slurred speech or trouble retrieving driver's license when requested.
  • Driver admitted to drinking alcohol

Effective Defense When You Need it Most

The arresting officer must prepare an offense report after each arrest. They are trained, both at the academy and in DWI training, to report every important fact that justifies a DWI arrest. Officers are further required under Texas law to submit a sworn report to the Department of Public Safety after each arrest when the driver refuses or fails a breath test. Our firm has seen many instances in which an officer's testimony is largely discounted due to conflicting statements in court and in the report, and when it relates to the continued seizure of our clients, suppression is the likely possibility.

Keep in mind that in Texas, an accused citizen has a right to present constitutional violations both to the judge and jury, when there is a fact issue about the stop or continued detention. There have been many instances where we have successfully contested the stop and detention, and have prevailed during a jury trial even though the evidence showed our client to be clearly intoxicated. The lesson to be learned here is that the Constitution always trumps guilt.

Contact the Law Offices of Tim Powers today to set up your complimentary consultation.

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