If you have been arrested for DWI or DUI in Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine or in the surrounding cities of Tarrant County, it is likely that you were initially stopped after a police officer noticed something suspicious about your driving or about your vehicle that caused him to initiate a traffic stop.
It is a common misconception to think that a police officer needs probable cause to make a traffic stop. In reality, Texas law merely requires reasonable suspicion of criminal activity based upon articulable facts (usually provided by a police officer) for the police officer to initiate a traffic stop. In other words, if a police officer has stopped you for DWI and the basis for the traffic stop is merely a hunch, an unfounded suspicion or merely curiosity as to what you were doing, the stop will be deemed illegal and any evidence collected after the stop will be prohibited from being used against you.
The most common reason a police officer establishes reasonable suspicion to make a DWI traffic stop is a traffic violation. If you were speeding, running a red light or changing lanes without using a turn signal, the police officer will always be justified in making a traffic stop. Additionally, if you were driving with an expired inspection sticker, a broken tail light or any other minor infraction (that may or may not be an actual crime), the police officer will legally be permitted to make a traffic stop.
Although it would appear that a police officer would be able to justify any DWI stop under the current law, there are limitations upon when a traffic stop would be justifiable under the law. For instance, an officer observing a vehicle weaving within their lane of traffic is a common reason that many citizens are stopped for suspicion of DWI. If the officer merely observed the citizen weaving within their lane, as opposed to weaving into other lanes of traffic, the officer will be required to explain how weaving within one’s own lane of traffic resulted in unsafe driving. If weaving within one’s own lane of traffic was the sole basis for the traffic stop and the police officer is unable to establish that the citizen’s driving was unsafe, it is highly likely that the stop will be determined to be illegal. Although this is only one example, it emphasizes the point that if you have been arrested and charged with a DWI in Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine or in the surrounding cities of Tarrant County, it is important to retain a DWI law firm that will take the time to ensure your DWI stop was legal and supported by Texas case law.
At The Hampton Law Firm, the DWI trial team will carefully review the facts of your case and determine if your DWI traffic stop was legal. Call The Hampton Law Firm now to schedule an appointment with the Tarrant County DWI trial team and receive a free evaluation regarding your DWI case.