Being pulled over for a DWI is serious in Texas, as there are significant penalties and fines associated with the offense. If you are concerned about being charged with DWI, you may be considering refusing the blood test.
However, if you are pulled over for a DWI, you have already conceded your right to refuse a test. Texas law subjects all drivers to implied consent, which means that simply by operating a motor vehicle you have consented to chemical testing – via blood or breath – if law enforcement is suspicious about your blood alcohol content (BAC). If you refuse the test, there will be consequences for your driver’s license.
What happens to my license if I refuse?
Refusing to submit to a chemical test will lead to an Administrative License Revocation (ALR). This is an administrative process that is separate from the criminal case. If you refuse a chemical test, you will receive an ALR of 180 days. A second offense leads to a two-year license suspension.
Cooperating with chemical testing and failing the test could result in a less stringent license suspension (although it could provide evidence against you in the criminal case). While if you fail a chemical test you could face an ALR, the penalties are less severe – 90 days for a first offense and one year for a second.
If you receive an ALR, the officer will most likely take your driver’s license and issue a temporary permit. You have 15 days to request an ALR hearing. If you don’t request a hearing, the license suspension begins 40 days post-arrest. It is best to have an attorney represent you in the criminal case and the ALR proceedings. An experienced DWI defense attorney can argue to restore your driving privileges at the ALR hearing and protect your rights in the criminal case.