No Refusal May Be The New Norm In Texas DWI
If you are pulled over on suspicion of driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas you may no longer be able to refuse a breathalyzer field sobriety test.
Texas is currently an “implied consent” state, which means that simply by having a Texas driver’s license you’ve consented to an alcohol or drug test if requested by a law enforcement officer. Consequences for refusing to submit to a breath test include the automatic suspension of your driver’s license.
A move to make Texas a “no refusal” state could change everything.
Some counties in Texas already use no refusal policies on weekends, holidays or other special dates. In Bexar County, no refusal is the law every day of the year.
The no refusal process allows police to bring a suspected drunk driver who refused a breathalyzer test to a police station or other location for a blood test. Police are not legally able to take your blood without a warrant, so in no refusal areas, a magistrate judge who can issue the warrant upon showing of probable cause of drunk driving will be waiting.
Once the warrant is issued, there are nurses ready to draw your blood to determine whether you were driving under the influence of alcohol. Police and prosecutors prefer it to “implied consent” because “no refusal” secures blood-alcohol evidence of drunk driving that dissipates as time passes.
“if it bleeds, it pleads”
Scientific analysis of a person’s blood alcohol content can be very powerful evidence in the hands of Texas prosecutors. Once there is blood evidence of intoxication, almost 90 percent of those charged with DUI are convicted at trial or plead guilty to the drunk-driving charges against them.
When there is no blood or breath evidence of intoxication and the only proof of a DUI is the arresting officer’s observations, only 50 percent of those charged are convicted or plead guilty. One Dallas-area prosecutor simply said, “If it bleeds, it pleads.”
The true danger of no refusal policies is the threat of magistrates rubber stamping search warrants to draw blood. Without a search warrant, any procedure as invasive as a blood draw is an unreasonable search and seizure under the law. Those constitutional protections may be eroding before our very eyes in the Lone Star State.
If you have been charged with a DWI offense and your blood was taken as evidence, your rights may have been violated. Contact an experienced EL Paso DWI defense attorney to discuss your situation, your rights and your options.