Firstly, you should never drive while impaired by alcohol. However, you should never willingly give up your rights and liberties. One thing to understand about the State of Texas is DUI or sobriety checkpoints are illegal! Do not be the victim of an overreaching local law enforcement agency that is not complying with state law. You can protect yourself by keeping a few tips in mind if you encounter a sobriety checkpoint in the Dallas area. If you need legal advice, contact our office at (972) 562-9700 immediately.
First, you have a duty and obligation to keep yourself safe and avoid hurting others. When it comes to driving, this means you should never get behind the wheel while impaired by alcohol. Your best bet is to avoid any alcohol before you drive.
Understanding the Law
Next, you should understand your rights in the State of Texas. The case of Holt v. State of Texas established that since the state does not have a law or regulation governing sobriety checkpoints, they are not permissible – that is, they are unconstitutional under both the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 9 of the State of Texas Constitution. Furthermore, your Fifth Amendment rights under the US Constitution prevent the government from compelling you to incriminate yourself.
Exercise Your Rights
If you are stopped for a DUI, either at an illegal sobriety checkpoint in the Dallas area or while driving on the road, there is a right way to protect yourself from self-incrimination. Politely decline to volunteer for any sobriety test. This includes a field sobriety test, breathalyzer test, or blood test. There are large margins of error in both human judgment and electronic accuracy in these tests that could result in you being found in violation of law you did not break! The burden is on the state to prove your guilt; it is not on you to prove your innocence.
Do bear in mind the state will attempt to temporarily administratively suspend your license when you refuse to comply with their tests designed to find you guilty. A qualified attorney can help fight the license suspension or at least acquire an occupational license to get back and forth to work.