Texas DWI Laws and Implied Consent
According to the Texas Transportation Code, if you are arrested for a DWI, “for an offense arising out of acts alleged to have been committed while the person was operating a motor vehicle in a public place, or a watercraft, while intoxicated” it is assumed you consent to have a blood or breath test to determine the presence of alcohol and/or some other controlled substance. It sounds crazy, but even if you don’t want to take either test, the state of Texas assumes you do, hence the term “implied consent.”
Some attorneys advise clients not to submit to these mandatory tests, while other people say refusing the test is as good as an admission of guilt. The fact is, refusing the test will not strengthen the case against you. If you are arrested for a DWI, you can and should refuse a blood or breath test.
Here’s what you need to know about implied consent if you find yourself arrested for a DWI in Texas.
What Happens if You Are Arrested for a DWI
The penalty for refusing a blood or breath test under “implied consent” law, for your first DWI arrest, is a 180-day suspension of your driver’s license. The arresting officer will have you sign a statement indicating that you were warned of the consequences of refusing and refused anyway. You will then get a temporary driving permit good for 41 days. Within the first 15 days, you can request a hearing to challenge the suspension.
In most cases, an officer cannot make you take the test if you refuse. However, the Texas Supreme Court allows the arresting officers to do a blood test without your consent on “no refusal” (holiday) weekends. If the arresting officer believes you are intoxicated and hiding evidence, a judge can sign a search warrant for your blood. In Harris County, every single day is “no refusal,” meaning they will always get a warrant to draw your blood if you refuse the breath test.
In the event that you decide to refuse a blood or breath test, do not become argumentative or belligerent with the arresting officer. Refuse calmly and politely. Being combative can only hurt your case.
Fighting a DWI Charge
Being convicted of a DWI can have serious, long-lasting consequences, even if no injury or property damage occurred. This is not a minor legal matter that you should try to fight yourself. If property damage or personal injury to another person occurred, or if you have a previous DWI conviction, it is even more critical that you hire an attorney experienced in DWI cases who is intimately familiar with the state laws and how the court system works in such case. At Thiessen Law Firm, we care about our clients, and have the expertise you need to get the best DWI representation possible.