Getting pulled over by the police is always stressful, even when you know you violated no laws. Feeling stressed or nervous might affect how you react and respond to law enforcement officers.
Making poor on-the-spot decisions in a DWI traffic stop can worsen your situation and perhaps lead to additional charges. It can also hurt your DWI defense.
What should you do in a traffic stop?
Follow the instructions of the police officer while being courteous and respectful. Exert all your rights when dealing with peace officers, including the right to refuse answering questions that may incriminate you.
You will find examples of three mistakes to avoid in the sections below.
Being aggressive or combative
You know your rights and won’t put up with anyone, even the police, violating them. Your rights deserve protection but remember that officers have good reason to be wary in traffic stops. Aggressive or combative behavior—especially if things get physical—could be seen as assault.
Consenting to a search
On the other hand, do not allow your nervousness to make you overly compliant with police requests. If they ask for your consent to a vehicle search, politely decline. They may search anyway, but your denial should go on record and might even improve your defense options.
Saying too much
Never forget that you have the right not to incriminate yourself when dealing with law enforcement. Avoid lying to them. If you do not want to respond because you fear it may incriminate you further, respectfully decline to answer police questions.
In the aftermath of an arrest, learn about the DWI laws in Texas and consider seeking legal guidance. With help, you may overcome your charges, preserving your money, freedom and reputation.