In a previous blog, we explained what to do (and not to do) in the event you are pulled over for drinking while intoxicated. But what happens if you are arrested for suspicion of DWI? This is when many drivers can get confused and may inadvertently help the arresting officer build a case for conviction. For a better understanding of your constitutional rights, let’s take a look at what you can expect after being arrested for DWI in Texas.
Breath and Blood Tests
After being handcuffed and read your rights, you will be transported to a police station. Remember, you have the legal right to an attorney, as well as the right to remain silent. Contacting an attorney should be your first priority if you are arrested for DWI.
Your arrest for suspicion of DWI will become an arrest for DWI if you are offered, and refuse, a breath or blood test to determine the level of alcohol in your body. In Texas, the penalty for refusing a blood or breath test for your first DWI arrest is an immediate 180-day suspension of your driver’s license. (You can contest this suspension, as will explain below.) If you refuse the breath and/or blood test, you will be asked to sign a statement stating you were warned of the consequences of refusal.
Should you refuse a breath or blood test? Yes, and the state cannot force you to do so. Only about 5% of attorneys are capable of trying a breath test case with a chance of winning. However, the arresting officer may obtain a search warrant, which would allow them to draw a blood sample, and during “no refusal” weekends, the Supreme Court allows the arresting officers to do a blood test without your consent. But as a rule of thumb we recommend you refuse to take either the breath or blood test.
What to Do If Your License Is Suspended
Within 48 hours of your arrest, you will be brought before a “neutral and detached magistrate” (not necessarily a judge, but an attorney or retired judge) who will decide if there was probable cause for your arrest. Once again, you will be read your rights and informed of the charges against you. If probably cause is determined, bail will be set, which, when paid, allows you to be released from custody while your case is pending.
If your license is suspended, you will receive a temporary driving permit good for 41 days, and have 15 days from the date of the “Notice of Suspension and Temporary Driving” to contest the suspension. This is where having a qualified, aggressive DWI defense attorney is crucial. If you end up being convicted of DWI, your license can be suspended from six months to a year, depending on various factors, including your age, prior convictions, and the nature of your case.
Houston DWI Defense
If you are arrested for a DWI, your first priority should be contacting an attorney who specifically specializes in DWI defense. The award-winning attorneys of Thiessen Law Firm have the experience and expertise required to fight your DWI conviction, and if your case goes to trial, ensure you receive fairest treatment possible under Texas law. Contact us today for a free consultation. You can reach us by calling (713) 864-9000 or using our online form.