Like many states, Texas has an implied consent law in effect. This law states that when you obtain a Texas driver’s license, you implicitly consent to having a breath test or blood draw when requested by law enforcement officials during a suspected DWI stop. Texas Transportation Code § 724.011 sets forth the details about the Texas implied consent law.
When You Refuse a Blood Test
Texas law does give you the right to refuse a blood test when asked to do so by a law enforcement official. Nonetheless, there are certain circumstances in which you can be compelled to give a blood specimen.
Under Texas Transportation Code § 724.012(b), a police officer can require a blood test if he or she arrests you for a violation of Chapter 49 of the Texas Penal Code, which includes the operation of a motor vehicle or watercraft. An officer also can compel a blood test if you were involved in an accident that was caused by an offense under Chapter 49, and the officer reasonably believes that as a direct result of the accident:
- An individual has died or will die,
- An individual other than you has suffered serious bodily injury, and
- You refuse to voluntarily take a blood test.
Under these grounds, then, you have no right to refuse a blood test if you are asked to take one by a law enforcement official.
Warrant Required for Police Blood Draw
Despite the Texas implied consent law, however, you do have the right to refuse a blood test until the officer produces a valid search warrant, signed by a judge. Once the officer produces the warrant, however, you must have your blood drawn in order to measure your blood alcohol content (BAC), whether you like it or not. A blood draw also will detect the presence of drugs in your system, whether they are legal or illegal drugs. If a law enforcement official reasonably believes that you are impaired, he or she is likely to seek a warrant that will require you to give a blood specimen for testing purposes.
Consequences of Failure to Consent
Refusing to consent to a blood test is usually not helpful to the outcome of your criminal case. First, if the law enforcement official gets a warrant to compel a blood test, you will have no choice but to submit to the test. Second, there are mandatory driver’s license suspension periods that apply if you refuse to take a test as requested. A first refusal carries a 180-day suspension, and second or third refusal carries a two-year suspension.
Contact Your Houston DWI Lawyer Today
There are many defenses to DUI charges, even where a blood test has been performed. However, in order to make use of these defenses, you should immediately contact the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates, who can help you mount a strong defense to the charges that you are facing.
Whether you live in Clear Lake, Galveston, League City, or Houston, our legal team will help you.