Under the Texas state statutes, it is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is at or above 0.08. In addition, under the state’s Transportation Code, it is a driving violation to unsafely weave in and out of different lanes. Not only is weaving between multiple lanes unsafe, but it is a valid cause for a state or local police officer to pull you over. The responding officer can issue you a citation, and this officer may have valid cause to investigate as to whether or not you are intoxicated.
That being said, weaving between lanes is much different than weaving within a lane. It is not illegal to weave within your own lane. As our top-rated Austin DWI defense lawyer explains in order to teach people how to beat a DUI/DWI, weaving inside of a lane does not, by itself, constitute a moving violation. As such, it is generally not sufficient evidence for a Texas law enforcement officer to conduct a vehicle stop based solely on the fact that a driver was allegedly weaving within their own lane.
The Importance of Probable Cause
Americans are protected from unreasonable searches and seizures under the Fourth Amendment to our nation’s Constitution. In order to pull you over, a Texas law enforcement officer must have probable cause that you have actually committed some type of legal violation. For example, if you ran a red light, or if you blew through a stop sign, a police officer could stop you to write a citation. Further, that officer could lawfully follow up on any signs that suggest that you are too intoxicated to be behind the wheel. Likewise, if you were swerving in and out of multiple lanes, that would likely give the officer a valid reason to conduct a stop.
However, swerving within one lane is not illegal. There are many wholly legitimate reason why a vehicle might swerve within a single lane. There could be potholes or bumps in the road, there could be poor weather conditions, or there could be a wide variety of other factors that would cause you to weave. Just because you swerved slightly within your own lane does not necessarily mean that a Texas law enforcement officer has the right to pull you over.
Texas DWI Defense: Motion to Suppress Evidence
A law enforcement officer needs probable cause to stop you. If you were stopped without probable cause, that stop may be illegal and any resulting evidence could potentially be invalid. If evidence was not lawfully obtained, then that evidence may not be able to be admitted to a criminal trial at all.
Under Texas law, a DWI defense lawyer can submit a Motion to Suppress Evidence in order to get unlawfully obtained evidence removed from the court record. Evidence that was obtained as part of an illegal stop, or evidence that was only obtained because an illegal stop occurred, can sometimes be thrown out of the courtroom. When this happens, the prosecution may not have sufficient evidence to prove the underlying charges. The DWI charges against you may simply be dismissed.