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DUI Arrest in Texas

In Texas, a warrantless arrest is permissible if and only if (1) probable cause for the arrest exists and (2) at least one of the statutory exceptions to the warrant requirement is met. The statutory exceptions pertaining to motorists involve:

a)      The illegal act is committed in the presence of a peace officer or magistrate

b)      Reasonable belief that the motorist has committed a felony

c)      Reasonable belief that the motorist may have caused harm to himself/herself or another

d)     Reasonable belief that the motorist committed a felony, and may escape if not immediately apprehended

However, under Texas law, a peace officer attempting to make a warrantless arrest of a motorist, now in his or her residence, who is reasonably believed to have been driving under the influence, must receive consent from a resident to enter. Resident consent may only be disregarded by the officer in exigent circumstances.

Additionally, reasonable belief is defined as whether there is sufficient evidence to suggest to a prudent and cautious person that a crime has been committed and that the arrestee is the offender. The arresting officer may rely on reasonable belief, as opposed to the more stringent standard of proof, beyond a reasonable doubt, to make a valid arrest. Texas courts have been wary to create a strict text for what events constitute reasonable belief, relying on the discretion of the officer, and later evaluating each situation on a case by case basis examining the circumstances as a whole.

Furthermore, Texas courts have established that the reasonable belief need not be demonstrated by the officer who actually arrests of the suspected offender. For example, a magistrate who witnesses an illegal act may direct an officer to perform an arrest, while an officer who witnesses an illegal act or who possesses a reasonable belief that an offender has committed a crime may request the assistance of another officer in apprehended a suspect as is necessary.


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