Texas has an implied consent law, which means that if you operate a motor vehicle in the state, you are consenting to take a DWI test, whether it is a breathalyzer or blood test. However, if a police officer, state trooper, or sheriff, asks you to take a test after pulling you over, you have a Fourth Amendment right to refuse to take any kind of test used to measure your blood alcohol level. The implied consent law gives law enforcement officers the right to ask you to take a test, but you still have the right to refuse to take it, although you will suffer some consequences as a result of your refusal.
If you refuse to comply with the request, you then receive a penalty for your refusal, or the automatic suspension of your driver’s license for a period of 180 days. Plus, if this is your second DWI offense in a ten-year period, you are subject to an automatic suspension of your license for two years. Perhaps more importantly, most courts will see your refusal as a sign of guilt in entering judgment on your DWI case. Therefore, it is very important to consider all these factors in deciding whether to consent to a test or not in this situation.
You also should keep in mind that law enforcement officers can force you take a blood test under certain narrow “exigent” circumstances. Some of the situations that qualify as exigent circumstances include the following:
· The officer has probable cause and obtains a warrant for the extraction of your blood.
· You have prior DWI convictions.
· You were involved in an accident that caused injuries to yourself or another.
· You were involved in an accident that left you either unconscious or dead.
If none of these circumstances were present, and a law enforcement officer still forced or coerced you into taking a blood test, you may be able to challenge the test, as well as the test results.
An experienced Texas DUI attorney can help you build a strong defense against your criminal charges, whether they involve DUI or another type of criminal offense. Taking steps to get you released from jail and fight for your rights at the beginning of your case is typically easier than waiting until your case may be too far gone to fix. Contact Peek & Toland at (512) 474-4445 today and see how we can help.