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Traffic Stop in Texas: Know Your Rights

The Law Firm of Andrea M. Kolski
Woman Getting Ticket

Getting pulled over can be stressful for anyone. Regardless of the reason why you were pulled over, you have rights that should be respected by officers. However, it is hard to defend your rights if you are not sure what your legal rights traffic are. Here is what you need to know about your rights during a traffic stop.

The Right to Remain (Mostly) Silent

The first thing to remember during a traffic stop is that you have the right to remain silent throughout the stop in most cases. This can be immensely helpful since you may be nervous and not know what to say. Many people get in trouble during traffic stops because they say the wrong thing or they are aggressive toward the police. Rather than risking a problem, just stay silent when possible.

There are times during the stop that you need to speak to the officer. If asked for identification or any other paperwork, you must provide it to the officer. It is required by law. You don’t have to speak, but it is a good idea to at least inform the officer if you need to reach somewhere out of sight to get it. Otherwise, you don’t have to say anything to the officer at any point.

The Right to Record

Car cameras and cell phone cameras are everywhere, which can be a benefit if you are pulled over. You have the right to record the traffic stop, even without the officer’s permission. The key to doing this successfully is to be cordial about how you do it. Officers don’t like having cameras shoved in their faces any more than you do. So, keep it at a safe distance.

The Right to Refuse Testing

Blood-alcohol testing is a common method of determining a DWI in Texas. You have the right to refuse to take those tests. No officer can force you to take these tests under normal circumstances. The only exceptions are if you are involved in a serious accident where someone else was injured and if you have prior DWI/DUI convictions.

It is important to note that although you can refuse to take a test, there may not be an advantage for you. If you refuse, the officer will have you sign an evidence sheet to document your refusal. It can be used later in court to prove that you were guilty. Many people have tried to refuse tests in order to avoid evidence that they were drunk, but this method closes that loophole.

The Right to Refuse Searches

One of the more confusing issues that people face is understanding how and when an office can do a car search. To pull you over, an officer needs reasonable suspicion. That means that there has to be a reason for pulling you over that is obvious to someone under normal circumstances. In nearly all circumstances, an officer can lawfully pull you over.

You have the right to refuse a search of your vehicle if the officer does not have probable cause. Probable cause is enough evidence to think that you likely did something wrong. For example, an officer has probable cause if you roll down your window and it’s obvious that you are smoking marijuana in your car.

If you get pulled over, remember that you have rights. If you need help dealing with a legal issue, give us a call at 832-381-3430 or contact us here to schedule a consultation.

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