Texas Implied Consent Laws
If you are a licensed driver, you are subject to implied consent laws.
Every state has implied consent laws, although, the punishments for breaking
these laws vary from state-to-state. What is “implied consent,” exactly?
If a police officer has probable cause to arrest you for
driving while intoxicated (DWI), you must provide a breath, blood, or urine sample upon their request.
This is because licensed drivers are deemed to have given their consent
to chemical testing if they are suspected of DWI. In other words, driving
privileges come with a catch.
A common misconception is that drivers have the right to refuse a blood,
breath, and urine test without consequences, even if a police officer
asks them to take one. However, that is not true.
Refusing a chemical test in Texas is punishable by a 180-day license suspension, or, if you don’t
have a license, you cannot obtain one for 180 days. A second offense within
10 years is punishable by a 2-year driver’s license suspension.
Keep in mind that before taking a blood, breath, or urine sample from an
arrestee, police officers must inform drivers both orally and in writing that:
- Refusal may be used as evidence in court
- Their license will be suspended for at least 180 days for refusal
- Refusal may prompt the officer to get a warrant to authorize the taking
of a driver’s blood, breath, and/or urine
- Submitting a chemical test that shows a BAC of .08 or above will result
in an automatic 90-day license suspension, whether or not the driver is
prosecuted for DWI (for drivers 21 or older)
- Drivers under 21 years old who have any detectable amount of alcohol in
their system will get an automatic 60-day license suspension in addition
to criminal penalties if convicted
- If they are caught driving without a license, a driver will not be able
to obtain a license for a certain period of time
- They have the right to a hearing on the suspension or denial of their license
if they send a request to the DMV within 15 days of receiving notice of
suspension or denial
It’s also important to know police officers generally cannot force
drivers to submit a blood, breath, or urine sample. Instead, drivers will
face additional penalties for refusal, as we describe above.
What If a Driver Is Dead or Unconscious?
It may seem unfair and disturbing to take a person’s blood or breath
sample while they are dead or unconscious. However, if a police officer
has reasonable grounds to believe that an unconscious or deceased person
was driving while intoxicated, a medical examiner or licensed mortician
is legally permitted to obtain a breath and/or blood sample.
Arrested for DWI?
If you violated the state’s implied consent law by refusing to submit
a blood, breath, and/ or urine sample, you must retain legal representation
right away. Not only does your lawyer need to defend your alleged implied
consent violation but also your DWI charges. If convicted, the penalties
can devastate your freedom and reputation, which is why you must take
your accusations seriously.
To learn about your legal options, schedule a consultation with our Fort
Worth DWI lawyer
online or by calling (817) 429-2000.