Your legal issues all started when the police pulled you over. First, they asked you a bunch of questions, and then they arrested you. Now you find yourself facing criminal charges related to drunk driving or drug possession all because of that traffic stop.
You can defend yourself against pending charges in a number of ways. When your charges are the result of an interaction with law enforcement, reviewing that encounter could help.
For example, police need to have probable cause to pull you over while you drive. How can you tell if they had a valid reason to initiate the traffic stop that led to your arrest?
Think about your conversation with them
Most police officers will tell you why they pulled you over in the first moments of a traffic stop. They might volunteer that they noticed your tail light is out or that your speed was well over the posted limit.
Other reasons for pulling you over could include letting your tire graze the centerline in the road, using a phone while driving or not using a blinker before turning or merging.
If the officer did not tell you why they stopped you, they may not have had a reason. The police report can also shed light on this matter. An officer should have noticed an obvious violation of the law or something that indicated impairment or danger before they started the traffic stop.
Where you the victim of racial profiling?
Years ago, Texas lawmakers prohibited the practice of racial profiling. Unfortunately, state law has not stopped police officers from targeting certain people for unnecessary traffic stops. Officers may be more likely to pull over dark-skinned drivers in certain neighborhoods. They may also be more likely to conduct unnecessary traffic stops in neighborhoods primarily populated by people of color.
If you believe that an officer pulled you over solely because of your race or the color of your skin, that could be a compelling argument against the validity of the traffic stop, especially if you never received a citation for a traffic infraction.
Understanding when a traffic stop is legal can help you decide how to defend yourself against impaired driving charges or other offenses that result from a police officer stopping your vehicle.