What is Texas’ Implied Consent Law?

While the laws vary slightly from state-to-state, drivers across the country are expected to provide a sample of their blood or breath if they are suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or both. Nationwide, if a peace officer suspects that a driver is intoxicated and the officer asks the driver to submit a blood or breath sample to determine their blood alcohol content (BAC), the driver is supposed to provide a blood or breath sample pursuant to the state’s “implied consent laws.”

Under implied consent laws, when a person is issued their driver’s license, they are giving their consent to take a blood or alcohol test if they are ever suspected of driving while intoxicated (DWI). Texas’ implied consent law is covered under Section 724.011 of the Texas Transportation Code.

What if I Refuse a Chemical Test?

If an officer suspects that you have been driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or both and he or she asks you to submit to a blood, breath or urine test and you refuse, there will be consequences. Under Section 724.035 of the Transportation Code, if you refuse a police officer’s request to submit to a chemical test, the department will:

  • Suspend your driver’s license for 180 days, or
  • If you are a Texas resident without a driver’s license, you will be denied a driver’s license for 180 days.

Before an officer asks you to submit to a chemical test, he or she shall inform you orally or in writing that if you refuse to provide a specimen, your refusal can be admissible as evidence in a DWI prosecution, and that if you refuse, your license will be suspended for at least 180 days. Furthermore, the officer must inform you that if you refuse to provide a specimen, he or she can request a warrant authorizing that a specimen be taken from you.

Are There Exceptions?

You’d think that if a driver was unconscious or dead, maybe the cops wouldn’t take a sample of their blood or breath, but that’s not the case. Under Sec. 724.014 of the Transportation Code, if someone is unconscious, dead, or otherwise unable to consent to a blood or breath test, they are not considered to have withdrawn their consent. In other words, the police have the right to obtain a sample anyway.

Suppose someone was in a fatal crash and they died at the scene. In that case, a blood specimen can be taken by the county medical examiner or a licensed mortician to determine if the person was intoxicated before the fatal crash.

Related: What if I Hurt Someone While Drunk Driving?

To learn more about your rights under Texas’ implied consent law, contact our firm to set up a consultation with a Plano DWI lawyer.

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