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What's an implied consent law?

Imagine you're driving home from work one afternoon and you're completely sober. Nevertheless, an officer asks you to take a Breathalyzer test. What will happen if you refuse? Due to "implied consent" laws, your refusal to submit to a Breathalyzer test will result in your immediate arrest.

Every state -- including Texas -- has implied consent laws in place. These laws assume that as a result of owning a drivers' license and choosing to drive, the driver has consented to submit to a police officer's request to take a blood alcohol test.

Do implied consent laws motivate drivers to submit to DUI tests?

Unfortunately, a 2003 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission revealed that implied consent laws do not actually motivate drivers to submit to blood and Breathalyzer tests. The implementation of these laws do not reduce instances of blood alcohol test refusals. This study also revealed that suspected drivers who refuse to take a DUI test have a higher chance of sidestepping the most serious DUI penalties.

What happens if police secure a warrant to conduct a blood test?

When a suspect refuses to submit to a blood-alcohol test in many states, by the time an officer secures a warrant for a blood draw, the suspect may be sober or have a blood alcohol level below .08 percent. This is why many areas of the country have begun to use on-call judges to provide an electronic warrant more quickly, which officers can receive on their smartphones and computers.

In states like Texas, once an officer has a warrant to perform a blood draw, the officer can use force to extract a blood sample. Therefore, even though drivers can refuse to submit, it might be much easier on them to simply submit before the officer starts to apply force.

Did you get arrested after refusing to submit to a blood test?

Drivers who get arrested for DUI after refusing to give a blood or breath sample have the right to defend themselves against their charges in court. If you're facing DUI charges under these kinds of circumstances, make sure you learn as much as you can about your legal rights and options under Texas law.

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