By: Mark Diaz
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Texas Implied Consent Law and Refusal of Blood Test Requests
Many people ask us about the consequences of refusal of blood test requests. Drivers who have been pulled over on suspicion of intoxicated driving often wonder: Am I required to take a blood test? In Texas, you have two options: either consent to a blood test or deny consent. If you choose to provide a blood specimen voluntarily, you have an opportunity to minimize your administrative penalties.
However, if you deny consent to take a blood test, you force the officer to get a warrant for your blood. Although the administrative penalties may be more severe, the benefits of making the officer get a warrant for your blood can help you during your criminal case.
Here, our Galveston DWI defense attorney provides an overview of the Texas implied consent law and explains what will happen if you refuse a blood test request.
Implied Consent in Texas: Three Things to Know About Blood Test Refusals
- Drivers in Texas Automatically Consent to Post-Arrest Chemical Testing
Under the Texas implied consent law, drivers that are arrested for DWI can deny the officer’s consent to do a blood test. However, once the officer gets a warrant for your blood, refusal to provide blood can result in additional criminal penalties. Once the officer gets a warrant, you are required to comply with the warrant.
To be clear, the implied consent law applies to post-arrest testing. You do not have to take a field sobriety test. While an officer may ask you to participate in a voluntary Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs), you have the right to decline. In contrast, after being arrested for intoxicated driving, refusal of a blood test or a breath test will result in administrative sanctions.
- A Refusal of Blood Test Requests Will Result in Automatic Administrative Penalties
If you do not provide consent for the testing of your blood and require the officer to get a warrant, you will face administrative penalties. The consequences for refusal to take a blood test depend, in part, on whether you have a previous DWI refusal or conviction on your record:
- First Time Refusal: 180-day suspension of your driver’s license.
- Subsequent Refusals: 2-year suspension of your driver’s license.
As explained by the Texas Department of Public Safety (TDPS), drivers who refuse blood/breath tests will receive a suspension notice. You have 15 days to appeal this suspension from when you got the notice. If you fail to do so, the administrative suspension will take effect. A criminal defense attorney is your best opportunity to prevent your driver’s license from being suspended.
Note: Even if your driver’s license is suspended, non-commercial drivers may be eligible for an “Occupational License” which permits driving for essential, limited purposes during the period of license suspension.
- Prosecutors Can Still Pursue Criminal DWI charges
The administrative suspension for a blood test refusal is a separate legal action from any criminal charges. In other words, you can still be prosecuted for a DWI even if you refused to provide a sample. Prosecutors may decide they have enough evidence to bring charges without a blood or breath sample. Though, in some cases, they may decide the opposite — dropping the case. If you refused a blood test, you need an experienced Texas DWI defense lawyer on your side. Your lawyer will protect your rights.
Schedule a Free, Confidential Consultation With Our Galveston DWI Defense Lawyer Today
Mark A. Diaz is an experienced DWI attorney. If you or your loved one was arrested for intoxicated driving and refused a blood test, we are here to help. To schedule a no cost, completely confidential case evaluation, please contact our law firm at (409) 515-6170. With an office location in Galveston, we defend DWI charges throughout the region, including in Texas City, La Marque, Bayou Vista and Hitchcock.