What Is DUI By Consent?
In Texas, there are usually two very common questions that drivers ask. The first is, “What do you do if you are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving?” The second is, “Should you take the blood or breathalyzer test if an officer asks for one?”
Before a driver finds themselves facing this dilemma, it is very important that Texas residents are aware of the fact that the state abides by a law referred to as “Implied Consent.”
What Is Driving While Intoxicated?
Texas refers to driving while intoxicated (DWI) as when an individual operates a motor vehicle while legally drunk. Typically speaking, an individual is considered to be legally drunk in Texas if their blood alcohol content level either meets or exceeds the 0.08% mark.
Driving while intoxicated can also be referred to as a DUI, driving under the influence, and when it comes to driving while intoxicated, each state has its own laws. When looking at the DUI laws in Texas specifically, these laws prohibit a driver from operating a motor vehicle while in a public area when their blood alcohol content level is 0.08% or higher.
Penalties for a DUI Offense in Texas
A class B misdemeanor is considered to be a first-time DUI offense, and it has the possible criminal sentence of:
180 days or less of jail time, and
As much as $2,000 in fines.
When it comes to a second-time DUI offense, however, it is categorized as a Class A misdemeanor. This conviction can result in the following consequences:
A county prison sentence that ranges from as little as one year to as long as 30 months, and
$4,000 criminal fine.
Lastly, a third-time DUI offense in Texas is considered to be a third-degree felony and is punishable by:
Two to 10 years in federal prison, and
Up to $10,000 in criminal fines.
What Is the Implied Consent Law?
The implied consent law states that if a person is arrested by an officer who has probable cause to believe that they were driving while intoxicated, then that person automatically consents to one or more chemical tests that measure their blood alcohol content (BAC).
Essentially, if an individual is driving the roads of Texas, then it is assumed that they have already agreed to such tests. Therefore, an individual’s consent to provide a blood or breath sample may then be withdrawn.
What Happens If an Individual Refuses the Tests?
If an individual is arrested but refuses to voluntarily provide either a breath or blood sample to determine their BAC, they may then face standard DWI penalties along with additional administrative penalties.
Unfortunately, even if a person is acquitted of their DWI charges, the penalties that are listed below will still apply. In addition, the officer who arrested the individual may also request a search warrant to obtain a blood sample, even if the individual already refused to voluntarily provide one.
Listed below are the consequences for refusing to take either of the tests, these are namely:
180 days license suspension for a first-time offense
Two-year license suspension for a second-time offense, and
A two-year license suspension for a third-time offense.
Upon the arrest of the individual suspected of driving drunk, the arresting officer will inform them that their refusal to take the tests can be used against them in a court of law and will result in a minimum license suspension of 180 days.
Contact a legal representative at Sparks Law Firm for specialized DUI defense or for more information regarding DUI convictions. This can range from whether a person can travel to Mexico with a DUI to if physical control is better than a DUI.
The Bright Side
Even though the failure of an individual to submit to a chemical test has serious implications, sometimes, refusal can help avoid them from receiving a DWI conviction. As already mentioned, the consequences of administrative penalties are a major inconvenience, but they do still happen to be much less serious than the penalties of a convicted DWI.
How the Lawyers at Sparks Law Firm Can Help in This Situation
Anyone that has recently been pulled over or has been arrested for a DWI and has refused a blood or a breath test, should contact the best DWI law firm in Fort Worth, Sparks Law Firm as soon as possible.
It can be extremely confusing for a person to navigate their DWI case and the implied consent law alone but having the help of a skilled and knowledgeable DWI attorney is invaluable to ensuring that a person’s rights are protected at all times.
In order for a potential DWI client to inquire about how the lawyers at Sparks Law Firm in Texas can assist them in their case, they can call (817) 381-7846 today to book a free consultation.