Denton, TX asked in Criminal Law for Texas

Q: can a Texas officer arrest for a failure to use a turn signal after being denied a search of the vehicle.

i was pulled over for failure to use turn signal. they asked to search and i declined. he told me that was suspecious. i stated thats not the law. then he asked why i was arrested a year and a half prior?( i was for controlled substance but not indicted at the time) i stated if your asking that then you already know the answer. he then verbally told me i was under arrest for not using my turn signal. i asked "because i wouldnt let you search?" he stated "yes". if he was wearing a body cam is this reversable.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Scott Magee
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  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Round Rock, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: Every case is different. Without seeing the dashcam it is hard to say what is reversible. Generally, police officers can pull you over for technical violations of the law (failure to signal, speeding, etc.). Many times they just want to search the car. However, these "pre-textual stops" are legal because they are violations of the law. You do not have to allow them to search your vehicle and you should not agree to it. Your prior record does not give the officer probable cause, the standard for a search, when he stops you. Any warrantless search is subject to being suppressed if he violates the law by searching without probable cause. Get an attorney in your jurisdiction and discuss it with him or her. Good luck.

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