Picture this: you’ve been out at a restaurant or bar and had a drink or two. Afterward, as you drive home, you suddenly hear a siren and see the flashing lights of a police car in your rearview mirror. You start to panic because, while this type of traffic stop happens all too often across the country, you never imagined it would happen to you…
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE STOPPED FOR DRIVING WHILE IMPAIRED IN TEXAS: THE BASICS
If pulled over by police at night or day, you might not know what to expect or how to handle the situation. When it comes to what to do if pulled over for driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas, you should pay attention to your words and actions, know your rights, and understand the law. Being mindful of your behavior is key; so, make sure you are calm, respectful, and compliant during your interaction. Know that you have rights: no law enforcement officer can pull you over without probable cause, a right protected under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution which states that people are exempt from unreasonable search and seizure without cause. And understand the law as much as possible before choosing to drive after drinking (or using drugs)–you should know that all states in the US have DWI laws on the books, including the Implied Consent Law, which gives law enforcement officers flexible discretion when it comes to stopping a driver suspected of driving while impaired.
A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF IMPLIED CONSENT IN TEXAS
The Implied Consent Law basically states that a driver automatically consents to one or more chemical tests to measure blood alcohol content (BAC) if stopped and detained by a law enforcement officer who believes the driver has been driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs. In Texas, implied consent is outlined as part of the State Transportation Code:
“CONSENT TO TAKING OF SPECIMEN. (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,” Transportation Code, Chapter 724. Implied Consent, Subchapter A., Sec. 724.011.
Though Texas law enforcement officers typically attempt to obtain a breath or blood sample to measure a driver’s BAC when they suspect DWI, such tests are sometimes not done at all or are inconclusive at best. So, what happens if you refuse testing when pulled over for a DWI in Texas? You still can be arrested, charged with, and prosecuted for DWI without results from a breath or blood test. Arresting officers can use general observations, including those from standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs), as probable cause for the charge.
If you need professional legal representation from a reputable and experienced DWI attorney in the Austin, Texas area, Brian Erskine of Erskine Law can help. Mr. Erskine is a competent and caring lawyer who will provide legal guidance and help you fight the charges against you. Contact Law Maverick Brian Erskine for more information.