Most states call drunk driving DUI, but Texas uses the initials DWI, or driving while intoxicated. If an officer in Texas suspects a driver of DWI, they may pull the driver over to check them. By law, drivers must submit to the chemical tests, or they face penalties.
Overview of Texas implied consent laws
When a driver gets a license in Texas, they have agreed to submit to chemical testing for DWI. Chemical testing, such as blood, breath or urine tests, are used to measure the blood alcohol content of the driver. The tests are used to give the officer probable cause they need to arrest the driver for DWI.
If a driver tests 0.08 or more, which is over the limit, they could get charged with DWI. While the driver cannot choose which test the officer uses, the driver can choose the medical provider.
Drivers who have not been arrested may refuse portable breath tests used in preliminary alcohol screening and blood or urine tests. However, some situations could make chemical tests enforceable at the scene, such as accidents involving other drivers and bodily injury.
Penalties for chemical test refusal
Officers are required by law to inform drivers of possible penalties if they refuse chemical testing. The penalties for refusing post-arrest chemical testing the first time include an automatic 180-day license suspension.
Drivers have 15 days to file an appeal, and the suspension becomes immediately effective if they don’t. Even without a blood sample, the prosecution can pursue charges against the driver if they think they have sufficient evidence.
Drivers commonly don’t face penalties for refusing field sobriety tests, but they could still be subject to chemical testing. A DWI has serious consequences, so it’s important for all drivers to understand their rights.