Under Texas law, if a driver is arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated then that person is deemed to have consented to submit to the taking of a specimen of the person’s breath or blood to determine the alcohol concentration in his system or the presence of drugs. This is known as Texas’s “implied consent” law. An officer, however, may only take a specimen if the officer had reasonable grounds to believe that a person operated a vehicle while intoxicated. However, in certain extenuating circumstances a police officer can forcibly take your blood or make you take a breathalyzer test.
Can I Legally Refuse to Take a Blood or Breath Test?
Importantly, a person does have the right to refuse to submit to the taking of specimen. There are, however, certain consequences for refusing. Before an officer requests a specimen, the officer must inform the person orally and in writing that a refusal can be used in subsequent proceedings. What’s more, the officer must inform the person that refusal to consent will result in the the person’s license being automatically suspended for at least 180 days, whether or not the person is subsequently prosecuted as a result of the arrest. And the officer must inform the person that the officer may apply for a warrant to take a specimen from the person. After informing the person of these consequences, the officer can request that a person take a test.
Can I Be Forced to Submit to a Blood Alcohol or Breath Test?
Yes. In specific situations the law enforcement officer is required to take a breath or blood specimen for testing. Reasons an officer can forcibly take a sample for BAC testing include:
- if someone died in a collision allegedly caused by a drunk driver;
- if the officer reasonably believes that someone died in a crash caused by an intoxicated person;
- if someone is seriously injured in an accident with an intoxicated driver;
- if the person accused of DWI was driving with children in the car.
What Happens if I Refuse to Take the BAC Test?
If a person refuses the request to submit to the taking of a specimen, the officer will have the person sign a statement that the officer requested the specimen, that the officer informed the person of the consequences, and that the person refused to the taking of a specimen. The officer will serve notice that the person’s driver’s license has been suspended and will take possession of the person’s driver’s license. In its place, the officer will issue a temporary driving permit.
Can I Get My License Back After I’m Charged with a DWI?
After a DWI arrest in Texas, the accused has up to 15 days to request a hearing to challenge the suspension of a driver’s license. The main purpose of the hearing is to determine whether there was an adequate legal ground to stop or arrest the person and whether there was probable cause to believe the person was intoxicated. If an administrative law judge finds that there was not adequate probable cause then the person’s license will be returned and reinstated.
Refusing to consent to the taking of a breath or blood specimen can have serious consequences. And the penalties for refusing to a consent can be more onerous than if one is convicted of a DWI, depending on if a person has any prior DWI convictions. If you have been charged with a DWI, it is important to reach out to an experienced lawyer who can help you understand your legal rights. Call (713) 422-2270 today to speak with one of our highly rated DWI defense attorneys today or request a free case review online.