Sobriety Checkpoints: Are They Legal in Austin TX? - James Fletcher Law

Sobriety checkpoints are pretty common in many locations around the US. However, just because you might run into one doesn’t mean that they’re legal. 

If you were stopped at one of Texas’s sobriety checkpoints locations, then there are some things you need to know. Keep reading to learn how to protect your rights and how a DWI lawyer can help in these situations. 

Are Sobriety Checkpoints Legal in Texas?

While sobriety checkpoints and drunk driver roadblocks are perfectly legal in some states, in others they are not. At the moment, 38 states allow sobriety checkpoints, and 12 have banned them. 

One state that does not allow these blockades is Texas. In Texas, if you are pulled over for a DWI at one of these checkpoints then the evidence cannot be used to arrest you.

Why Does Texas Ban Sobriety Checkpoints?

The reason why Texas chose to ban sobriety checkpoints is that the state government felt that this violated Fourth Amendment rights. Under the Fourth Amendment, citizens are protected from unreasonable search and seizure. 

In 1994, the state government of Texas took a case to court to dispute the legality of a roadblock used to give someone a DUI. The Court of Criminal Appeals decided that any type of roadblock set up by police has to be authorized by the state government. Otherwise, it’s considered illegal.

Why Are There Still Roadblocks in Texas?

Even though Texas’s government has ruled roadblocks to be unconstitutional, it’s not uncommon for police officers to set up checkpoints. These checkpoints are designed to give DUIs in Texas during holidays and festivals. 

The trouble is, however, police state that these checkpoints are “no refusal” zones that mean drivers have to stop their vehicles and undergo a sobriety test. In reality, this is considered unconstitutional and drivers can refuse to take the sobriety tests.

Are There Any Exceptions to the Rule?

In certain cases, these checkpoints can actually force drivers to undergo a sobriety test. In Texas, if a driver receives a DWI and the police officer either has reasonable cause to suspect the driver is drunk or the driver was involved in an accident, they can force a driver to take a sobriety test.

However, if you do choose to refuse a sobriety test, be careful. Drivers who will not cooperate with taking a sobriety test can immediately have their license revoked, meaning that saying no could have serious consequences.

What Happens if I Got a DUI at a Sobriety Checkpoint?

If you did get stopped at one of these sobriety checkpoints, don’t worry. You can work with an Austin DWI attorney to help you get your license back and put yourself back on the road. 

At Hamilton Grant, we offer you support when you get pulled over for a DWI, no matter what the situation is. Give us a call and we’ll work with you to help you win your DUI case and get back on the road.

English | Español
Directions