On average, about 28 people die every day from drunk driving related crashes. In fact, about 1 in 3 people are involved in a drunk driving crash during their lifetime.
Driving while intoxicated should be avoided at all costs.
But what if you're driving home from a friend's BBQ after a few beers and are surprised by a sobriety checkpoint? What if you had a glass or two of wine and decide you're fine to drive home after dinner but you get pulled over for a tail light being out?
Is refusing DWI test ok? Even though you don't plan on drinking and driving, keep reading to find out all about implied consent and refusing a DWI test in Texas.
What Is Considered to Be DWI?
DWI stands for "Driving While Intoxicated" or "Driving While Impaired." And if you're facing a DWI charge then that means you are being charged with driving in a state that puts yourself and others, at risk.
Intoxicated means that either you "lack the normal use of mental or physical features" due to your ingestion of alcohol or drugs, OR that you have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more.
What Charges Do You Face for DWI?
Generally speaking, a first DUI in Texas could get you a class B misdemeanor charge. However, if you blow over 0.15%, you could be charged with a class A misdemeanor.
A first DWI charge may include community service, an education program, and/or probation. Furthermore, you may spend 72 hours to 6 months in jail for a class B, and up to a year in jail for a class A. Your license may be suspended for anywhere from 90 days to 12 months.
A first-offense DWI in Texas can escalate quickly and land you with additional fines and potential jail time if you don't acquire proper representation. You could even end up with an annual surcharge of $2,000 for 3 years in a row, in order to keep your license.
Refusing a DWI Test
Refusing a DWI test in Houston can get you into a lot of trouble. In fact, implied consent basically says that by just driving on the road, you agree to take a test to assess your BAC.
If an officer has probable cause to suspect that you are under the influence, implied consent laws require that you take a chemical test (via breath, blood, or urine) in order to determine your blood alcohol content.
Often, refusing a DWI test will result in worse charges than had you cooperated and revealed your guilt in the first place. A refusal can still result in fines, jail time, a suspended license, and may lead to you having to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your car. This device will require you to breathe into it with alcohol-free breath before it will allow you to drive your car.
Implied Consent and Refusing a DWI test in Texas
Refusing a DWI test in Texas could get you a 180-day suspension for a 1st offense, a 2-year suspension for a 2nd offense, and a 2-year suspension for a 3rd offense.
Texas is a state that enforces implied consent. Thus, if an officer believes you have been driving while intoxicated, Texas law states that you've given implied consent for them to test your BAC using one or more chemical tests.
Whether or not you should refuse a DWI test depends on every situation and is a tricky subject because it could be worse either way. Refusing could land you an automatic 180-day license suspension but being convicted of a DWI could be much worse.
If your license is suspended, you can always apply for an occupational license, which will allow you to and from work, in addition to any driving that is needed for you to perform essential household duties.
If you are convicted of a DWI, you will still be responsible for whatever charges were incurred as a result of initially refusing the chemical test.
Driving While Intoxicated Is a Serious Offense
In 2016, only 1 million people were arrested for driving under the influence of either alcohol or narcotics. However, 111 million people self-reported instances of alcohol-impaired driving.
That means of the millions of people who drove under the influence of alcohol in 2016, less than 1% of them were arrested for it.
Driving while intoxicated puts your own life and the lives of others in serious danger. That being said, sometimes you can find yourself in a situation that you don't necessarily deserve to be in. Or you may make a mistake in judgment. And in some cases, you may be wrongfully arrested or accused.
Hiring a DWI lawyer will help you make the best out of any situation.
Is Refusing DWI Test in Texas Ok?
Is refusing DWI test in Texas ok? You can always refuse a DWI test if you feel like you should. However, that's not to say that that refusal will let you off the hook. In fact, you could still end up with a suspended license, fines, and even jail time, depending on the situation.
When you get in your car and begin to operate it, you are implying your consent to a chemical test. By even driving your vehicle, you are essentially making a promise to protect yourself and the lives of others while operating your vehicle. So if an officer believes that you are too intoxicated to drive, they have the legal right to subject you to a chemical test.
Want to know what to expect from DWI probation? Click here to find out about all the conditions of probation.
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