How Search And Seizure Issues Impact DWI Cases In Williamson County, Texas
This is the next post in our series discussing DWI cases in Williamson County, Texas. Our last post served as an overview of topics we will be discussing and also stressed the need to hire an attorney if you are facing such charges. In this article we will discuss how violations of the Fourth Amendment, which protects U.S. citizens from unreasonable search and seizure, comes into play during DWI cases filed in Georgetown and its surrounding areas.
Georgetown residents may challenge a DWI case if they were stopped without the officer having reasonable suspicion of a crime
It may be possible to challenge a Williamson County DWI case on Fourth Amendment grounds. Police officers cannot stop a resident’s vehicle simply because they want to. Under Terry v. Ohio, police officers must have reasonable suspicion of a crime in order to stop a driver. This means that officers may stop a vehicle for issues such as speeding, failing to use a turn signal, etc. If, during the traffic stop, the officer gains suspicion of DWI then they may investigate further. There are instances, however, where the basis of a stop may be challenged. If it can be shown that the officer did not have reasonable suspicion to stop a vehicle then the case will typically be dismissed.
The first step of determining whether search and seizure issues are present in a DWI case is to examine the arresting officer’s report. An experienced attorney should be able to analyze the report and determine 1) if a police mistake is readily apparent or 2) whether the report indicates there are other issues which need to be investigated. If Fourth Amendment issues are implicated then the next step is to file a Motion to Suppress Unlawfully Seized Evidence. The presiding Judge will hold a hearing on the Motion shortly thereafter. This hearing will involve testimony from the arresting officer and may involve testimony from the defendant, depending on the circumstances. It will be crucial to the case case that you have an attorney familiar with the rules of evidence, and with the Fourth Amendment, to ensure that your rights are fully protected. In addition to Georgetown, we service the surrounding communities of Austin, Bartlett, Cedar Park, Florence, Granger, Hutto, Jarrell, Leander, Liberty Hill, Round Rock, Taylor, Thrall, and Weir.
Williamson County residents should wait until they have spoken with a Georgetown lawyer when considering whether to plead guilty in a DWI case
Many people are not aware of what rights they have under the Fourth Amendment. Because of this, it is easy for one to feel there is nothing they can do once they have been arrested for DWI. As a result, there are many Georgetown and Williamson County residents who plead guilty in DWI cases even though they may have defenses available. It is a mistake to enter into a guilty plea without having first consulted with an attorney. Do not make this mistake. Contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately if you have been charged with DWI or DUI.