Can a Cop Arrest Me for a DWI if They Only Pulled Me Over for a Broken Taillight?


Last Updated on August 5, 2023 by

That broken taillight you’ve been ignoring for months…what if not fixing it could land you in a world of other trouble? Even if an officer pulls you over for one thing, if they discover another offense in the process, you can be charged with that offense as well. 

If you find yourself facing DWI charges, it may be a good idea to find a Texas DWI attorney to help you out. 

Probable Cause or Reasonable Suspicion

Technically speaking, the law in Texas only requires officers to have probable cause to pull you over. In this scenario, the probable cause is your broken taillight. While that might not be what prompted the initial traffic stop, if they get to your car and notice signs of intoxication or influence, it is their responsibility to take action. 

That being said, the officer needs to have reasonable suspicion or probable cause in order to pursue the possibility of a DWI. The traffic stop does not warrant a search of the vehicle, but if you show signs of impairment, or they can smell or see alcohol in the car, this is reasonable suspicion. 

If they ask if you’ve been drinking and you say yes, this is also probable cause. 

On the same note, if you are pulled over for a taillight and show no signs of impairment, then there is no probable cause for the officer to act any further on grounds of a DWI. 

Help Yourself in These Situations

When you find yourself in a situation like this in Texas, there are some things that you can do to possibly prevent a DWI charge from occurring. However, if you have open containers and are obviously impaired, you could be arrested. 

Here are some tips that you can consider when you get pulled over. 

Don’t give the officer reason for suspicion. Be polite, kind, and cooperative with them for the purpose of the initial traffic stop. You should remain calm and collected, regardless of the situation, which will also allow you to respond more appropriately. 

If the officer asks to search your vehicle, you do not have to give consent unless they have a warrant or probable cause. However, if they ask you to step out of the vehicle, you should obey. You can refuse the search or question what the grounds for the search are. Don’t speak out of turn or provide extra or unnecessary information. 

Accept any ticket given for the broken tail light infraction, and simply move on. 

Find Legal Support

If you are arrested for a DWI after a routine traffic violation, hire a Texas DWI attorney. These attorneys understand the laws and the court process, and may be able to help you with your charges. At the very least, they might be able to get you a reduced charge or penalty. 

Apart from this if you are interested to know about Here Are the Key Benefits of Hiring a Pedestrian then visit our law category.