Law enforcement in Montgomery County and the Shenandoah Police Departments have announced that they intend to increase patrols over the holidays in an effort to prevent drunk driving. They aren't the only police departments to be doing so: police departments in Houston and throughout the greater Houston metropolitan area will also be ramping up patrols between now and New Year's Eve. As mentioned, patrol officers will be on the lookout for drivers driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and many times they will stop someone for speeding, failing to use signals, and failing to use seatbelts -- among other minor traffic violations -- with an underlying motive to investigate if the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The initiative is funded by the Texas Department of Transportation under the Selective Traffic Enforcement Program. Many other departments, including those in Harris County and elsewhere, are expected to employ similar measures to stop drunk driving through the holidays. Here are some things you should keep in mind, therefore, throughout this holiday season.
Warrant for Blood Draw
To obtain a warrant to collect a blood sample, police must contact a judge to have the warrant approved. During these enforcement efforts, police are likely to have a local judge's office on call so that a warrant can be quickly and easily obtained. Police must follow all protocol for the proper collection of blood samples. If police fail to do so, the evidence may be ruled inadmissible.
Refusal to Submit to Breath or Blood Test
Refusing to submit to a chemical test may result in penalties such as the loss of your driver's license. Police may ask for your consent to take a breath or blood sample. If police failed to follow the proper procedures to do so, this is another reason that evidence could be deemed inadmissible which could result in a dismissal of your case.
Reasonable Suspicion to Probable Cause
Police must have reasonable suspicion to pull you over for a DWI and may not randomly pull over drivers in hopes of catching a drunk driver. If you suspect that you have been subjected to a stop without reasonable suspicion, The Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. may be able to challenge the stop to get your case dismissed.
Police do not need to suspect a driver is drunk to conduct an investigatory stop if a driver committed a traffic violation, like failing to use a turn signal or speeding. Many times an officer notices signs a driver is impaired after the driver has been pulled over, like slurred speech and the smell of alcohol. Police are trained to look for clues such as trouble following instructions or drivers who fumble when attempting to show their proof of insurance and driver's license to the officer. Any behavior suggesting you are not in full control of your faculties can lead to further investigation that can provide the police officer with enough probable cause for an arrest.
Stay Safe & Out of Jail in Houston this Holiday Season
If you are pulled over for a traffic violation and that leads into a DWI investigation, which then leads into a DWI arrest, contact Doug Murphy as soon as you can. DWI cases are defensible, and this is why it is important to have a knowledgeable, experienced attorney on your side with a proven record of successful challenges to the state's evidence in your case. You don't want to start the new year with a new criminal record.
But to avoid all of this in the first place, you can still enjoy the holiday season and have a drink -- but just be sure to give yourself ample time before getting in a vehicle and driving.