RAMIFICATIONS OF BLOOD/BREATH TESTS
One of the most widely asked questions concerning DWI is should you or shouldn’t you take a blood or breath test? What happens if you do take one? What happens if you refuse one?
In Texas, anyone arrested for DWI is required to undergo a blood or breath test. Texas has an “implied consent” law which states that if you are legally arrested by a law enforcement officer who had probable cause to
conclude that you were operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, then you consent to take one or more chemical tests of your breath or blood to obtain your blood alcohol content (BAC). The officer decides which test you take and it must be done as soon as possible. You do have the option of also having a blood test taken by a medical professional of your choice within two hours of your arrest as long as you have submitted to the officer’s test beforehand.
Consequences of Submitting to the Breath or Blood Test
If the test reveals that you have a BAC level of 0.08 or more, your driver’s license is automatically suspended for 90 days on a first offense. This is classified as a Class B misdemeanor and can incur up to 180 days in jail or fines of up to $2,000 if convicted.
Texas Legislation recently modified the intoxication laws, however, instituting enhanced penalties for those found with a high BAC level. Anyone with a BAC of 0.15 or more can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor even on your first offense. This is punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.
A blood or breath test is the State’s best chance of convicting you, but even if you pass it, it does not mean you’re scotfree. They can still charge and convict you of DWI.
Consequences of Refusing to Take the Test
Even with Texas’ “implied consent” law, you do still have the option in most cases to refuse taking a blood or breath test although there are serious repercussions for this choice. You cannot refuse a test if the event involved an accident where another was seriously injured or killed or if you have two prior DWI convictions.
If you refuse to submit to a blood or breath test, your license will be suspended for at least 180 days for the first refusal and 2 years for any subsequent refusal within 10 years. You will, however, receive a temporary permit allowing you to drive for 41 days after your arrest and you can request a hearing to dispute your license suspension within 15 days. They can use your refusal in court as evidence in your DWI case.
Moreover, even if you refuse a blood or breath test, you may still be forced to give a blood sample. Law enforcement officers can request that a local judge issue a warrant allowing them to force you to give a blood sample. If this happens, you face the longer suspension for refusing and still will have to face the result of the blood test.
Understanding DWI charges, penalties, and procedures can be overwhelming. Whether you decide to submit to blood or breath testing, it is imperative that you procure an experienced DWI attorney as soon as possible. At the office of John C. Rentz, We know what to look for and will analyze every aspect of your arrest to ensure that we create a defense giving you the best possible chance of success.
Call today for a free consultation. We serve clients in Denton and the surrounding areas.