A man was detained by Texas police and charged with driving while intoxicated due to an incident that began at around 12:40 a.m. on March 18 in Alice. A police officer allegedly observed a southbound Ford truck on Texas Boulevard at a high speed. When the vehicle was pulled over somewhere along the 900 block of Cactus Street, the officer claimed to have detected the smell of alcohol on the driver’s breath and asked him to exit the truck.
When the man was asked if he had been drinking that evening, he supposedly admitted to drinking four beers, and the officer asked him to submit to a field sobriety test. At this point, the reports allege that the man became irritable and spoke to the officer in a disrespectful manner. The officer ended the field sobriety test in response and took the man into custody. During his processing at the Alice Police Department, the man refused to answer further questions or submit to a breath test. He has since been detained at the Jim Wells County Jail.
Although it is almost never advisable to speak abrasively to a law enforcement officer, doing so does not necessarily imply guilt. The fact that the man’s field sobriety test was not completed and that he declined further testing could perhaps cause a scarcity of evidence that can be used against him. Moreover, all accused individuals possess the Fifth Amendment right to decline to question in order to avoid incriminating themselves. The fact that he elected to exercise that right should not be understood as a presumption of guilt and ought not to be used to discredit his case.
In order to secure a DWI conviction against the defendant, the prosecution will need to demonstrate evidence of his intoxication at the time of the traffic stop. If they are unable to present this evidence, it is possible for the DWI charge to be dismissed or reduced to a lesser, less damaging charge. However, declining a test for determining blood alcohol concentration is often an offense in itself that can lead to its own penalties.