The short answer to this question is “yes”. The officer will likely have a dashboard camera as well as a body camera. You will be continuously subject to video and audio recording from the time the officer turns of his lights (and perhaps even before that). The recording could turn out to be crucial evidence against you for a DWI conviction, depending in part on how you handle yourself during the stop. A Houston DWI attorney can advise you on how to handle situations like this and how to minimize your legal risk afterward.
Your Fifth Amendment Rights
You are obligated to produce your driver’s license, proof of insurance and registration during a DWI. You have a constitutional right to refuse to answer questions such as “Have you been drinking tonight?” or any other question that is designed to build a DWI case against you. Since you are being recorded, answering questions like these could amount to a virtual confession.
If the officer asks you any questions (and he certainly will!), tell him that you don’t want to answer any questions outside the presence of your lawyer. Once you invoke your right to a lawyer, the officer is not supposed to question you further. Even if he does, none of your answers will be admissible in court.
Field Sobriety Testing
A field sobriety test involves following simple instructions from the officer such as walking a straight line or reciting the alphabet with two letters missing. Video and audio recording are particularly relevant to this particular type of test, because your intoxication can become obvious when you fail an on-camera field sobriety test. With recoded evidence of this sort, Texas might not even need the results of a Breathalyzer test to win a conviction. Most people don’t realize that in Texas, you are under no legal obligation to submit to a field sobriety test.
The Texas Implied Consent Law
Texas law requires you to submit to a Breathalyzer or blood test (but not a urine test) if you are ordered to do so by an officer who suspects you of DWI. If you refuse, you will be immediately arrested and the Texas Department of Public Safety will suspend your driver’s license for 180 days (two years for a second offense), even if you are never convicted of DWI. Since you are being recorded, your refusal will be almost impossible to deny at a hearing. Moreover, your refusal will not necessarily prevent the state of Texas from prosecuting your for DWI anyway.
Search Warrants and Blood/Breath Tests
A police officer who suspects you of DWI can force you to submit to a blood or breath test (usually a blood test) only if he first obtains a search warrant. Remember that failing a field sobriety test while being recorded could be enough to justify issuing a search warrant. Seek out the counsel of an experienced Houston criminal defense lawyer for advice concerning your particular case.
Mario Madrid is an experienced criminal defense lawyer with nearly twenty years of practice experience. As a former prosecutor, a former judge, a certified specialist in criminal law and a member of the National College of DUI Defense Attorneys, Mr. Madrid outclasses his competition. If you need someone to help you defend yourself against a Houston DWI charge, call Madrid Law, PLLC at 713-877-9400 for a free initial consultation.