It’s a common scenario on Texas public roads. An officer pulls you over for suspected drinking and driving. Maybe you were weaving or reckless, but there’s no actual signs of intoxication. When the officer asks if they would like to submit to DWI testing what should you do?
The answer is to refuse. It’s intimidating to say no to a police officer. Especially if they warn you afterwards you could be arrested with a suspended license for refusing. However, most attorneys would advise you to not submit to DWI testing. The majority of attorneys would tell you it’s an incredibly bad idea whether it’s field sobriety tests or a breathalyzer.
A chemical test refusal will likely lead to a license suspension and a possible arrest. What an officer won’t tell you is a failed DWI test would result in the same outcome. It’s much safer to refuse chemical testing because they it does come with flaws. You could have false positive results or simply incriminate yourself on accident.
If you or someone you know has recently refused or submitted to DWI testing, it’s imperative you seek trusted legal representation.
Attorney for DWI Test Refusal in Harris County, Texas
Have you recently refused chemical or field sobriety testing from law enforcement? Did you submit and are now facing DWI charges? No matter the circumstances, it’s important for you to call the attorneys at Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc.. We can assess your refusal or charges to help you make the next step.
Contact us today at (713) 224-5529 to schedule a free consultation. Our team is composed of qualified criminal defense attorneys with a strong focus in DWI law. Managing attorney, Tyler Flood, is a designated ACS-CHAL Lawyer-Scientist, meaning he’s trained to understand the science behind chemical testing. Don’t agonize another moment and call Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc..
Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. represents people throughout the greater Houston metropolitan area including River Oaks, Uptown, Pasadena and Bellaire.
Overview of Refusing DWI Tests in Texas
- Implied Consent Laws and DWI in Texas
- Problems with Chemical Testing
- Suspended License from DWI Refusal
- Additional Resources
What Happens If You Refuse to DWI Testing?
Texas has legislation which addresses DWI testing called implied consent laws. The Penal Code § 724.011 states you’re implicitly submitting to chemical testing by using the public roads in Texas. Refusing to comply with testing will result in a penalty. However, it’s important to remember this isn’t a criminal consequence, but an administrative one.
Even with implied consent laws in place you’re still allowed to refuse testing. Violating implied consent laws will lead to a license suspension. In some cases, you could be arrested if the officer has probable cause you’re drinking and driving. Probable cause is when you have a reasonable amount of suspicion, supported by circumstances, that a crime did or was about to take place.
It’s understandable you would want to avoid a night in jail and a license suspension. Why should you submit if it’ll just end in a legal penalty? Nevertheless, the majority of attorneys would advise you to do so because of the evidence DWI testing provides.
The District Attorney will utilize any information gathered from your chemical or field sobriety tests. It will make your case much more difficult to defend if there’s DWI testing evidence. Choosing to refuse testing will limit the prosecution. They will be forced to use objective evidence from the officer’s police report, dash cam or witnesses to make a conviction.
Problems with DWI Chemical Testing
You might think because it’s scientific that chemical testing is a trusted process. Unfortunately, this isn’t the entire truth. Completely sober people have failed chemical testing such as breathalyzers or blood draws. These false results can come from a multitude of factors such as faulty equipment, contaminated samples or improper lab procedures.
Breath analysis is probably the most commonly administered chemical test out there. It’s also the most inaccurate. A breath sample can be measured by a portable breathalyzer or a full-size breathalyzer at the police station. A breath test will measure the number of grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath.
Portable breathalyzers are known to give skewed results because they don’t have the full capability as a full-sized breathalyzer. Many station breathalyzers have given false BAC readings due to poor maintenance. Breathalyzers need monthly calibrations and can give misleading results if they’re not kept up.
Urinalysis usually gives much more accurate results than a breathalyzer, but don’t think they’re without fault. A urine sample is usually taken to a state or private crime lab. There the lab technicians will test your sample for the number of grams of alcohol per 67 milliliters of urine. Numerous factors can affect lab results including diluted or contaminated samples.
Urine testing also tests for multiple substances in your body. A urinalysis reading could show substances you’ve consumed days or even weeks ago. For example, marijuana could stay in your system for up to two weeks even if you’re not a chronic smoker.
Blood tests are considered to be the most precise out of the three tests. A blood draw is also done at a lab or hospital and then tested by technicians. The sample is tested for the number of grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. It’s common for officers to ask for a blood draw if they suspect you used drugs.
Unfortunately, a blood analysis test isn’t foolproof either. A variety of external factors can skew your results. Some of these include outdated equipment, poorly trained staff, mishandled samples or even tampered samples.
Suspended License from a DWI Refusal
Refusing to comply with DWI testing will lead to an administrative license suspension. The suspension period relies on your age and if you’re a commercial driver. Refusals tend to have much longer suspension terms than failed chemical tests.
If you’re a non-commercial driver who’s over the age of 21, then your suspension will be:
- Up to 180 days for a first refusal; or
- Up to 2 year for a second or subsequent refusal.
If you’re underaged, then your suspension will be:
- Up to 180 days for your first refusal; or
- Up to 2 years for your second or subsequent refusal
If you’re a commercial driver, your commercial driver’s license could be disqualified for:
- Up to one year for refusing chemical testing; or
- Up to three years if you refused chemical testing while transporting hazardous materials
Remember that legal limits are different for underaged or commercial drivers. Texas has a zero-tolerance policy for underaged drinking, so the legal limit for minors is .02 BAC. Commercial drivers have a specific limit for when they’re driving a commercial vehicle of .04 BAC.
It’s also important to note you can fight an administrative license suspension. You could hire trusted legal representation and file a request for an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing. The hearing will be a chance for you and your attorney to fight for your driving privileges. However, you must act quickly. You only have 15 days to file a request for an ALR hearing after you’ve received notice of your suspension.
Administrative License Revocation (ALR) Program – Visit the official website of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to learn more about ALR hearings. You can access the request form, pay reinstatement fees and learn about restricted licenses.
Texas Implied Consent Statute – Visit the official website of Texas Legislation to learn more about their implied consent laws. Access the website to regulations, procedures for law enforcement and what to do if a person is incapable of consent.
Lawyer for DWI Refusals in Harris County, Texas
If you or someone you know has failed or refused DWI testing, it’s crucial you contact an experienced attorney. You will need an attorney to chart out a strong defense plan for you. A skilled DWI attorney will be able to contest your license suspension and your charges.
Contact Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. for that skilled attorney today. We have years of experience handling DWI refusal cases. Our attorneys will use our resources, skills, and defense tactics to get the best outcome for you. Call us now at (713) 224-5529 for a free consultation today.
Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. accepts clients throughout the Houston area and surrounding communities including Bellaire, West University Place and Pasadena.
This article was last updated on March 7th, 2019.