When a law enforcement officer has reasonable suspicion to believe that an individual is guilty of driving while intoxicated (DWI), the officer can request the driver to submit to a chemical test in order to detect the presence of drugs or alcohol in his or her system.
In Texas, drivers do have the right to refuse to submit to any chemical test. However, it is important to keep in mind that refusing to take a chemical test will usually lead to an automatic loss of your driving privileges for months or even years.
Implied Consent Defined by Section 724.011 of the Texas Transportation Code
Section 724.011 of the Texas Transportation Code Annotated states that anyone who is arrested for a DWI related offense is considered to have consented to have their breath or blood tested for the purpose of determining alcohol concentration or the presence of drugs in the body.
DWI Test Refusal Required Warnings in Texas
According to Tex. Transp. Code Ann. § 724.015, if a law enforcement official suspects that an individual is guilty of DWI, he or she must notify the individual of the following, before asking him or her to submit to a DWI chemical test:
- If the individual refuses to submit, the refusal can be admissible in any subsequent prosecution;
- A refusal to submit will lead to an automatic license suspension for at least 180 days, whether the individual is subsequently prosecuted or not;
- If the individual is 21 or older, and submits to a chemical test and the results show that the blood alcohol concentration level is .08 or higher, he or she will be subjected to an automatic license suspension of at least 90 days, regardless of whether or not the individual is subsequently prosecuted;
- If an individual who is less than 21 years old refuses to submit or submits to a chemical test and the test shows that there is any detectable amount of alcohol in his or her system, the individual will have their driver’s license suspended for at least 60 days; or
- If the individual is given an automatic driver’s license suspension, he or she is legally entitled to a hearing on the suspension, within 15 days of receiving notice of the license suspension.
Can an Officer Force Me to Take a DWI Test?
Under certain circumstances, a police officer can conduct a chemical test on an individual’s breath or blood, even if the individual refuses to submit. These circumstances are outlined in section 724.013 of the Texas Transportation Code as:
- The individual has a previous conviction for at least one DWI assault, DWI with a child passenger, DWI manslaughter, or two of any DWI related offense;
- There was a child passenger in the vehicle at the time of the alleged offense; or
- An individual other than the driver suspected of DWI has been killed or suffered serious bodily injury as a result of the accident.
Penalties for Refusing to Submit to a DWI Chemical Test In San Antonio
Anytime an individual refuses to submit to a DWI chemical test, he or she will automatically receive a driver’s license suspension for 180 days, if it is his or her first offense.
If an individual is charged with DWI test refusal for a second time and the offense occurs within 10 years of a conviction for a previous DWI-related offense or DWI test refusal, the individual will have his or her license suspended for two years (Tex. Transp. Code Ann. § 724.035)
Administrative license suspensions go into effect 40 days after the defendant has received notice of the suspension. As previously mentioned, drivers who have received administrative license suspensions will be granted a hearing on the suspension; as long as it is requested within 15 days after the driver receives notification of the suspension. A San Antonio DWI lawyer can help you secure the hearing and represent you.
Working with Bexar County DWI Lawyers to Preserve Your Driving Privileges
If you have been given an administrative license suspension, it is vital that you contact a qualified DWI attorney as soon as possible. Dave Parent serves individuals in Bexar County, San Antonio, Kendall County, Boerne, Comfort, Fair Oaks Ranch, Leon Springs, and the surrounding areas in Texas.
Dave Parent will work tirelessly to ensure that you are adequately prepared for your upcoming administrative license suspension hearing, and he will present evidence in a way that could lead to having your driver’s license reinstated.
Contact Dave Parent today at 210-819-4111 to schedule a consultation about your charges of DWI test refusal. Your initial consultation is free, and it is a crucial step in preparing your defense.