Texas Implied Consent Law
The heavy emphasis the police and prosecutors place on enforcement of the laws against driving while intoxicated and driving while impaired is common knowledge among Texas motorists. What surprises many people is that consenting to a police officer’s request that a driver suspected of DWI submit to a test to measure blood alcohol concentration is not optional. Drivers who refuse might find themselves facing civil penalties, including drivers license suspension or revocation.
How Mandatory DWI Tests Affect Drivers
According to the Texas Penal Code, any person operating a motor vehicle on public roads in the state automatically consents to submit to a breath or blood test if requested to do so by a police officer. Testing for alcohol consumption laws allow the state to suspend the license of any motorist who refuses to take the test.
The foundation for Texas implied consent law is the fact that permission to operate a motor vehicle requires a driver’s license issued by the state. Courts have ruled that a license to drive is a privilege that can be withheld or withdrawn at the discretion of the state. Therefore, the state can place conditions and restrictions on the issuance of a license to drive including submission to a chemical test.
Consequences for Refusal to Take a BAC Test
A police officer who arrests a person on suspicion of an alcohol-related driving offense must advise the motorist of the refusing BAC test law and the consequences of refusing to submit to a chemical test. A police officer is authorized by law to confiscate the driver’s license of any motorist who refuses to submit to a test after being advised of Texas implied consent law and the penalties associated with it.
After taking a suspect’s driver’s license following a test refusal, a police officer gives the person a temporary driving permit, but the permit expires 15 days after the arrest. During the 15-day period, a motorist must submit a written request for a hearing to determine if the state should impose a license suspension or revocation.
Violation of mandatory DWI tests is punishable by a 180-day suspension for a first refusal in Houston. A subsequent refusal within a ten-year period can result in a two-year suspension. Some motorists might be eligible for a restricted driving permit that allows them to go to and from work.
Texas Implied Consent Law Lawyer
The loss of driving privileges can affect one’s personal life and ability to earn a living. Houston criminal defense lawyer Justin T. Surginer has experience handling cases involving refusal to take a breathalyzer test, so he knows that license suspensions or revocations can be avoided. Lack of probable cause or reasonable suspicion for the initial stop by police or failing to correctly warn a motorist of the consequences of refusing to submit to a test are factors that can help a person avoid a suspension.