In Texas, driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious offense that carries significant penalties. One aspect of Texas DWI laws that often confuses individuals is the concept of implied consent. In this blog post, we will discuss the Texas implied consent law, how it applies to DWIs, and what it means for individuals arrested for DWI or similar offenses in the state. Blog: Tyler Criminal Defense Lawyer Carlo D'Angelo
What is the Texas Implied Consent Law? The Texas implied consent law is outlined in the Texas Transportation Code § 724.011.
(a) If a person is arrested for an offense arising out of acts alleged to have been committed while the person was operating a motor vehiclein a public place, or a watercraft, while intoxicated, or an offense under Section 106.041, Alcoholic Beverage Code, the person is deemed to have consented, subject to this chapter, to submit to the taking of one or more specimens of the person's breath or blood for analysis to determine the alcohol concentration or the presence in the person's body of a controlled substance, drug, dangerous drug, or other substance.
(b) A person arrested for an offense described by Subsection (a) may consent to submit to the taking of any other type of specimen to determine the person's alcohol concentration.
Tex. Transp. Code § 724.011
Under this law, any person who operates a motor vehicle in a public place, or a watercraft, is deemed to have given their consent to submit to chemical testing if they are arrested for a DWI or a similar alcohol-related offense. This means that by driving in Texas, you are agreeing to take a breath or blood test if you are lawfully arrested for a DWI or a related offense.
The Purpose of Implied Consent: The primary purpose of the implied consent law is to deter intoxicated driving and promote public safety. Implied consent ensures that law enforcement officers can gather crucial evidence to determine whether an individual was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, thereby helping to hold intoxicated drivers accountable for their actions.
How Implied Consent Applies to DWIs in Texas: When a person is arrested for a DWI or an offense arising out of acts alleged to have been committed while the person was operating a motor vehicle or watercraft while intoxicated, they are considered to have consented to the taking of one or more specimens of their breath or blood. These tests are conducted to determine the alcohol concentration or the presence of a controlled substance, drug, dangerous drug, or other substance in the person's body.
Refusal to Submit to Testing: While the implied consent law means that drivers are deemed to have agreed to submit to chemical testing, individuals still have the right to refuse testing. However, refusal to submit to a breath or blood test comes with consequences, including a driver's license suspension and the possibility of enhanced penalties if convicted of a DWI.
When arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) or boating while intoxicated (BWI) in Texas, you may face an administrative driver's license suspension in addition to criminal penalties. Understanding the process of requesting an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing can help you protect your driving privileges. Let’s discuss the process for requesting an ALR hearing and summarize key points to remember if a driver is facing a DWI license suspension in Texas.
The ALR Hearing Process:
Field Sobriety Tests: If a law enforcement officer suspects that a driver is impaired, they will be asked to perform a series of field sobriety tests. Failing these tests can result in arrest for DWI or BWI.
Breath or Blood Test: After the arrest, a driver will be asked to take a breath or blood test to determine your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level. Refusing or failing the test can lead to the suspension or disqualification of driver's license.
License Confiscation and Temporary Permit: The officer will confiscate the driver's license, issue a suspension/disqualification notice, and provide a temporary driving permit.
Requesting an ALR Hearing: A driver then has 15 days from the date the notice is served to request a hearing to contest the driver's license suspension or disqualification. If the driver does not request a hearing, the suspension goes into effect on the 40th day after the notice was served.
BAC Test Results and Notice of Suspension: If a driver consents to a blood test, they can keep their driver's license until the BAC results are received by the Department. If the results show a BAC above the legal limit, the driver’s license will be suspended or disqualified, and a Notice of Suspension will be mailed.
Requesting a Hearing after Notice of Suspension: A driver has 20 days from the date the suspension notice is mailed to request a hearing to contest the driver's license suspension. If the driver doesn’t request a hearing, the suspension goes into effect on the 40th day after the presumed receipt of the suspension notice.
Reinstatement Fee: A $125 reinstatement fee is required before a driver's license can be renewed or issued, in addition to any other outstanding fees.
ALR Hearings: If a driver is eligible to contest the suspension or disqualification of your driver's license, they may request a hearing within 15 days of being served notice. The hearing will be scheduled within 120 days and conducted by the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will listen to the evidence and make a final determination on the driver's license suspension.
Conclusion: The Texas implied consent law plays a crucial role in the enforcement of DWI laws and the promotion of public safety. By understanding the implications of this law, individuals can make more informed decisions if faced with a DWI arrest or a related offense. If you have been arrested for a DWI or a similar offense, it is strongly recommended that you consult with an experienced Texas DWI attorney to discuss your rights and options.