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Are DWI Checkpoints Common in Texas?


When you think of a roadside stop for driving while impaired, you probably think about an officer stopping a specific vehicle. This is because officers typically must have reasonable suspicion to detain a motorist.

In some states, though, officers erect sobriety checkpoints. At these checkpoints, officers stop all or a random sample of approaching vehicles to determine if their drivers may have blood alcohol concentrations above the state’s legal limit.

Are Checkpoints Effective?

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, sobriety checkpoints are a type of concentrated DWI enforcement that can reduce the number of impaired drivers on public roadways. Still, these checkpoints can be a hassle for motorists. In some instances, they even can be dangerous for approaching drivers, pedestrians, officers and others.

Are Checkpoints Legal?

Sobriety checkpoints are legal in 38 states. Texas is not one of these, however. In fact, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals decided more than 30 years ago that these checkpoints violate a person’s Fourth Amendment rights. As such, DWI checkpoints are unconstitutional in the Lone Star State.

Does Texas Have Enhanced DWI Enforcement?

Even though you are unlikely to encounter a DWI checkpoint anywhere in Texas, you may have to deal with stepped-up enforcement.

It is not uncommon for officers to focus enforcement efforts on times when impaired driving tends to be more common. For example, you may be at greater risk of a DWI stop at 2 a.m. on a Saturday than you are at 10 a.m. on a Tuesday.

Ultimately, if you are facing DWI charges from an enhanced-enforcement arrest, it is advisable to understand your legal rights and options as quickly as possible.