Implied Consent Laws in Texas
Texas has imposed laws for people who refuse chemical testing. These are referred to as implied consent laws, meaning if you drive on Texas public roads you’re implicitly submitting to chemical testing by law enforcement. Refusing to comply with testing can lead to an administrative license suspension. It’s important to remember that field sobriety testing isn’t included in implied consent laws. Even though implied consent laws are in place in Texas, you can still refuse testing. Chemical testing has flaws and your results may be misleading to authorities. In some cases, it’s best to refuse chemical testing so law enforcement has no concrete evidence of your DWI. You may be charged with DWI, but the prosecution will only have subjective evidence to present to the jury.
If you refuse chemical testing, it’s important to understand there will be administrative consequences. You may not face criminal penalties, but your license will be suspended for a period of time. Listed below are the suspension periods for refusing chemical testing.
- 180 days for a first-time refusal; and
- 2 years for a second or subsequent refusal
You can combat your license suspension through an administrative license revocation hearing. You have to act quickly, however, since you have 15 days to file a request a hearing to challenge your administrative suspension.
If you fail to request a hearing, the suspension will commence 40 days after the notice was served.
It’s also important to understand law enforcement can arrest you if they have probable cause you were driving under the influence. Probable cause is when an officer has a reasonable amount of suspicion, supported by circumstances, that a crime did or is taking place. This means you could be arrested even if you refuse chemical testing. Handling both an arrest and license suspension is unnerving. However, it may be the best possible option for you. Staying in jail for a short period of time is a lot less of a hassle than handling a DWI conviction. The prosecution won’t have any substantial evidence if you’re charged. In fact, you may not be charged at all if the District Attorney’s Office doesn’t think they have a case. You can also contest your suspension and you may be able to retain your license.