Mistakes the police make ... and how they can help you
Stopping a person based solely on an anonymous 911 call.
A 911 call-in stop requires certain particular facts to be known about the caller. The officer should also observe independent reasons to stop a moving automobile. This is a very hot area in DWI law. Without further information, the tip could be from a disgruntled girlfriend or spouse or a victim of road rage.
Following a driver into his residence without permission or probable cause to suspect criminal activity.
Your home is protected against unwarranted entry by the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. Although running into your house will not prevent a DWI, if you are lawfully home, the police must obtain permission from you or a warrant from a judge to enter your home.
Basing an arrest on the statements of the driver alone.
An officer must have personal knowledge of the elements of the case or independent corroboration of your statements. This is most often true in accident cases. Without any independent evidence of the time of driving or the driver before the accident, in many cases no conviction can be obtained. These cases are also very common in reduced DWI cases.
Detaining a driver longer than necessary.
Although traffic "detentions" are permissible to enforce traffic laws, an officer is not allowed to detain a person indefinitely without reasonable suspicion that a crime is being committed or has just occurred.
Stopping a car based on a "hunch."
An officer must have a reasonable suspicion to believe that a crime is being committed or has been committed to stop a motorist. Without specific articulable facts to support the suspicion, the stop, arrest and all evidence obtained is inadmissible in court.
Stopping a vehicle for driving too slow or too fast without more proof.
Speed laws were enacted to insure safe streets. Both driving too slow and exceeding the speed limit require additional proof that the driving was either unreasonable or imprudent.
Stopping a car for weaving within a single lane.
This law requires remaining in your lane as nearly as practical. It takes into account having to dodge potholes and other debris to safely navigate the road. A scene investigation is an important part of a good DWI defense.
Being mistaken about a traffic violation.
Officers are required to know the rules they enforce. They cannot stop or arrest a person who does not violate the law.
Stopping a car for improper sign.
Texas traffic laws also regulate the shape, color, placement and requirements for all traffic signs. If the sign does not comply with the regulations, it cannot be used enforce a law.
Failing to follow Texas Breath Testing Regulations.
Texas law strictly governs the collection of blood and breath samples for DWI prosecution. If all procedures are not followed, test results will not be allowed in Court or to suspend driver's licenses.
Stopping at an improper roadblock.
DWI roadblocks have been held to violate the Constitution for its interference with lawful traffic and must follow specific guidelines and procedures to be held valid.
Stopping to check for driver's license and registration.
Again, an officer must have specific articulable facts that a crime is being committed before he can lawfully stop any motorist.
Failing to follow their own DWI training.
The exercises required by most police were developed by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA). NHTSA also sponsors the training for these exercises. If their specific administrative procedures are not followed by the police, the validity of the exercises for suggesting intoxication is compromised.
Coming unprepared for the driver's license or suppression hearings.
These hearings can determine which evidence can be used against you in trial. The police often underestimate their importance compared with trial and do not adequately prepare themselves to be witnesses in Court. An experienced trial lawyer can defeat a case before it gets started when this occurs.
Arresting people who are not intoxicated.
Although it may sound strange, some police arrest drivers for DWI without proper authority when a driver is stopped or questioned. Police are human, too, and can react poorly in some situations. Arresting someone who was simply coming from a bar, a young driver, or a driver in an area dominated by bars can be a serious mistake and expose the officer to very serious consequences.