The upcoming end-of-year holidays provide many people with a reason to celebrate. However, along with the holidays comes a significant increase in accidents and arrests related to alcohol. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, the holiday season between December 1 to January 1 sees a sharp increase in alcohol-related traffic crashes and fatalities. In 2017, there were 2,469 DUI-alcohol related traffic crashes in Texas that led to 96 deaths and 202 serious injuries. With the holidays fast approaching, Texans should be aware of the increased risk of drunk drivers.
Despite controversy, “No Refusal” checkpoints are still present in Texas. During the holidays, the frequency of these checkpoints and DWI patrols increase dramatically.
Are “No Refusal” DWI Checkpoints Legal in Texas?
Texas law enforcement officers may set up “No Refusal” checkpoints and driving while intoxicated (DWI) patrols when they expect there might be more drunk drivers on the road. These checkpoints are used to screen drivers to verify they are not driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol. “No Refusal” checkpoints and DWI patrols are often set up during holidays like Christmas and Independence Day, when people are more likely to consume alcohol.
One consideration during “No Refusal” DWI checkpoints concerns blood search warrants when an allegedly impaired driver refuses to provide a voluntary blood or breath sample to measure their blood alcohol concentration (BAC). If law enforcement secures this blood search warrant, a suspected intoxicated driver may be apprehended, questioned, and required to take the BAC test.
BAC Limits for Drivers in Texas
The amount of alcohol anyone may legally consume before driving in Texas is defined by the following BAC limits:
● Drivers under age 21: .00 percent
● Drivers age 21 or older: .08 percent
How Do “No Refusal” Checkpoints Work in Texas?
Suppose a police officer believes a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol while interviewing them at a “No Refusal” checkpoint. In that case, they may ask the driver to submit to test to measure their BAC.
Upon this request, Texas drivers have the following options:
● Consent to a blood test
● Consent to a breath test
● Refuse a blood or breath test
What Happens If I Refuse a Breath or Blood Test?
Regardless of the name, Texas drivers indeed have the right to refuse a BAC test during a “No-Refusal” checkpoint. Under Section 724.013 of the Texas Transportation Code, drivers can refuse this request, which would subsequently force police to attain a search warrant. Often, judges are readily available during a “No Refusal” period, so police can quickly secure a search warrant.
However, keep in mind that if a police officer requests a court warrant to force a driver to submit to a blood or breath test, they must submit an affidavit. This documentation proves that probable cause existed, which does not always work out in the driver’s favor.
Understanding the Implied Consent Law in Texas
In Texas, anyone who accepts a driver’s license agrees to implied consent. Meaning that, in return for driving on Texas roads, drivers who refuse to submit to a blood or breath test when requested by law enforcement when suspected of driving impaired may automatically face license suspension.
It’s important to note that law enforcement may restrain an allegedly drunk or drugged driver until they’ve secured a warrant from a judge. Through the use of electronic warrants, this process is much easier now than years before. After law enforcement receives approval of a search warrant, the driver must provide a blood or breath sample for the BAC test.
What Are Potential Penalties for a DUI or DWI in Texas?
A conviction for a DWI or DUI (driving under the influence) in Texas may result in the following penalties:
● First offense DWI or DUI: A misdemeanor with penalties that include fines up to $2,000, a jail sentence up to 6 months, and a license suspension up to 1 year
● First offense with BAC at or above .15 percent: A misdemeanor with penalties that include fines up to $4,000, a jail sentence up to 1 year, and a license suspension up to 1 year
● Second offense DWI or DUI: A misdemeanor offense carrying penalties that include fines up to $4,000, a jail sentence up to 1 year, and a license suspension up to 2 years
● Third or subsequent DWI or DUI: May be subject to felony penalties that include fines up to $10,000, a prison sentence up to 25 years, and a license suspension up to 2 years
Contact the Saputo Law Firm for Experienced DWI Defense in Dallas
If you’re facing a DWI charge in Dallas or throughout Texas during this holiday season, contact a seasoned lawyer with DWI defense experience as soon as possible. At the Saputo Law Firm, we go to great lengths to defend our clients and fight for a dismissal of DWI and DUI charges. Our goal is simple: JUST WIN.
At the Saputo Law Firm, our criminal defense lawyers have earned numerous accolades and awards for their commitment to their clients, including a “10.0” rating on Justia and a “10.0 – Top Attorney” rating with AVVO. To consult with an experienced DWI defense lawyer about your situation, complete a contact form or call 888-239-9305.