Texas Implied Consent Law
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What is implied consent?
See also Texas State Transportation Code Chapter 724 – Implied Consent
Let’s take a quick look at the applicable statute discussing implied consent. (shown in italics below).
“(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 vehicle in 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.
724.011(a) explains that if the police arrest you for an act they believe you committed while driving a motor vehicle under the influence, the law states you have already automatically consented to a blood or breathalyzer test. This is called “implied consent.”
Can you still refuse to take a breathalyzer test?
724.013 answers this question. (in italics below).
Except as provided by Section 724.012(b), a specimen may not be taken if a person refuses to submit to the taking of a specimen designated by a peace officer.
724.013 explains that you are still permitted to refuse a test, so long as the police do not suspect you caused an accident that left someone seriously injured or dead.
So, what happens if you refuse?
724.031 explains below. (in italics).
If a person refuses the request of a peace officer to submit to the taking of a specimen, the peace officer shall request the person to sign a statement that:(1) the officer requested that the person submit to the taking of a specimen;(2) the person was informed of the consequences of not submitting to the taking of a specimen; and (3) the person refused to submit to the taking of a specimen.
724.031 explains that if you refuse a test, you will be required to sign a statement acknowledging the police requested you submit to a test, you were informed of the consequences of not submitting to the test, and that you refused to take a test.
Can you be punished for refusing?
You may still be arrested and taken to jail on suspicion of drunk driving and may later find yourself charged with that offense. But it gets worse. You will likely also be found guilty of violating the implied consent laws discussed above by refusing the test itself. 724.035(a)(1)-(2)(b) explains below. (in italics).
“If a person refuses the request of a peace officer to submit to the taking of a specimen, the department shall: (1) suspend the person’s license to operate a motor vehicle on a public highway for 180 days.
(b) The period of suspension or denial is two years if the person’s driving record shows one or more alcohol-related or drug-related enforcement contacts, as defined by Section 524.001(3), during the 10 years preceding the date of the person’s arrest.”
The statute explains that, in addition to potential DWI penalties, if you refuse to take the test your driving license will automatically be suspended for 180 days for a first offense or for two years if you have prior alcohol related driving offenses.
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