If you are pulled over for suspicion of a DWI, and the officer believes that you were driving while intoxicated, you will likely be asked to submit a blood or breath test to determine your blood alcohol levels. It is important to not only understand that you have the right to refuse these tests, but the consequences you may face for a Texas DWI test refusal.
If you consent to a blood or breath test and fail, you will be arrested and charged with a DWI. If convicted, you will be facing serious consequences that will impact your life for years that may include:
- Jail time
- Fines and fees
- Loss of your driver’s license
- A permanent criminal record
- Increased insurance rates
If you have been arrested for a DWI, you should seek the advice of an experienced Houston DWI attorney as soon as possible to learn more about your legal options. We have years of experience defending the rights of individuals after being charged with a DWI – call us today to schedule a free consultation at (713) 222-6767.
Implied Consent in Texas
Texas Transportation Code 724.011, which is referred to as Texas’ “implied consent” law, states that if a person is arrested for a DWI, he or she is deemed to have consented to submit either a blood or breath test to determine alcohol concentration or the presence of a controlled substance or drug. Essentially, by having a Texas driver’s license, you have agreed to consent to take a chemical test if the arresting officer has reasonable grounds to believe that you were driving while intoxicated.
If you consent to the blood or breath test and register a BAC sample of .08 or more, you are considered legally intoxicated under Texas law. You will then be arrested and charged with a DWI. If convicted of a DWI, the range of punishments will vary depending on whether it is your first, second, or subsequent DWI offense and whether any aggravating factors exist such as an elevated BAC level of .15 or more.
Under Texas Transportation Code Section 724. 019 (a), a person who submits to a blood, breath or urine test at the request or order of an officer may, on request and within a reasonable time not to exceed two hours after the arrest, have a physician, qualified technician, chemist, or registered professional nurse selected by the person take for analysis an additional specimen of the person’s blood.
Penalties for a Texas DWI Test Refusal
In Texas, the arresting officer gets to choose the test that you take and must provide you with written and oral notice of the consequences of refusing to provide a blood or breath sample. While you do have the statutory right to refuse to take a blood or breath test, doing so will result in the automatic suspension of your license. Your license will be suspended automatically for:
- A minimum of 180 days if it is your first test refusal or
- A minimum of 2 years for your second or subsequent test refusal within the past 10 years
The evidence of your refusal may also be used against you in court.
The officer will take your license and issue you a temporary permit if you refuse to submit to a chemical BAC test. You then have 15 days from this date, to request an administrative license revocation (ALR) hearing to challenge the suspension of your driver’s license. If you fail to request a hearing within the required timeline, you waive your right to contest the suspension and your license will be automatically suspended for a minimum of 180 days.
It is important to understand that the ALR hearing is completely separate from the criminal process, which may result in an additional suspension of your license if convicted of a DWI.
If a person refuses a breath test, the officer has the option to obtain a search warrant from a judge for a blood draw. You still have the option to refuse the blood draw even after the officer obtains a warrant, but again, this could lead to the automatic suspension of your license.
Contact an Experienced Houston DWI Attorney
Regardless of the facts in your case, Houston DWI defense attorney Ned Barnett will fight aggressively to get you the best possible outcome. He has extensive experience representing people against DWI charges and is a leader in the area of DWI defense. He is certified in DWI field sobriety testing, the operation of breath test machines, and the gas chromatography technique used in Texas DWI blood tests, so he understands how to contest the evidence against you.
Mr. Barnett is board certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and has more than 20 years of experience as a criminal defense lawyer in the Houston area. Before opening his own practice in 1994, Ned Barnett tried cases as a federal prosecutor in Houston and as a state prosecutor in Galveston County. He understands how to develop an effective defense strategy and is committed to providing superior legal advocacy for his clients. He is personally invested in every case and will protect your legal rights.
If you have been arrested for a DWI or have lost your license because of a Texas DWI test refusal, time is of the essence. Contact the Law Offices of Ned Barnett today at (713) 222-6767 to schedule a free case evaluation.