DWI breath, urine and blood tests are used to detect the presence of intoxicants such as alcohol, prescription medications or narcotics in the blood of a driver suspected of DWI. Such tests are legal in Texas as well as other states. The question of whether or not you can refuse to consent to a DWI urine or blood test deserves more than a simple “yes” or “no” answer. Houston criminal defense lawyer Mario Madrid is well aware of the nuances of Texas DWI law.
Texas has enacted an “implied consent” law, whereby anyone driving on Texas roads is considered to have already consented to a urine or blood test to confirm a suspected presence of intoxicants in the driver’s bloodstream. Nevertheless, under almost all circumstances, you are legally entitled to refuse to submit to the test if you are willing to accept the consequences.
Consequences of Refusal
If you refuse to submit to a urine or blood test in Texas, the Texas Department of Public Safety can suspend you driver’s license. The suspension period is 180 days for a first offense and two years for a second offense within ten years. If you were not driving on a Texas driver’s license, Texas will forbid you from driving in Texas for the relevant period. Texas will also notify your home state of the offense, and your home state will likely suspend your driver’s license.
Effect on a DWI Case
Just because you refused to take a urine or blood test doesn’t mean that Texas cannot prosecute you for DWI. The court can rely on evidence of intoxication, such as the arresting officer’s testimony and station house videos, to win a conviction. Your refusal to take the test can also be used as evidence that you refused to take the test because you knew you were intoxicated. If you are convicted of DWI you will be punished under Texas DWI law and under the implied consent law.
Compelled Testing and Texas v. Villarreal
The 2013 case Texas v. Villarreal established the judicial precedent that, at least under certain circumstances, a blood test taken by force from a DWI suspect cannot be used as evidence against him in a DWI prosecution. This ruling does not necessarily apply if the officer first obtains a search warrant based on probable cause. Since the jurisdiction of the court that issued this ruling is limited to the Corpus Christ and Edinburg areas, it does not necessarily apply in other parts of Texas.
Resisting an officer’s attempt to compel you to submit to a urine or blood test might result in a charge of resisting arrest under certain circumstances. Resisting arrest is an offense punishable by up to a year in jail. In Texas, it is no defense to a charge of resisting arrest that the officer’s attempt to arrest you was unlawful in the first place.
Mario Madrid is a prominent criminal defense lawyer with decades of practice experience. He is a former prosecutor and judge, a certified specialist in Criminal Law, and a long-time member of the National College of DUI Defense Attorneys. If you need help defending yourself against a Houston DWI charge, call Madrid Law, PLLC at 713-877-9400 for a free initial consultation.