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San Antonio DWI defense attorneysWith periods of “No Refusal” for Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) testing being expanded across Texas, it is useful to know your rights when it comes to breath tests, blood tests, urine tests, and other sobriety tests. In particular, you must consider “implied consent” and how it can affect you if pulled over for driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas.

What Is Implied Consent?

While it might seem otherwise, driving throughout the United States is considered a privilege and not a right. This is why when you first get a driver’s license you are required to take tests. In taking and passing those tests and agreeing to the terms of your licensure, you are essentially waiving your rights to be reckless on the road. Most roads are public roads anyway, governed by the rules set forth by your local jurisdiction. To break those rules is to put other people’s safety at risk, which is against the law. By getting that driver’s license, you are giving your “implied consent” to have your blood or your breath tested for alcohol content, which can impair your driving abilities.

Even with Implied Consent, Can You Still Refuse a Blood or Breath Test?

You can refuse to have a chemical test conducted to determine the blood alcohol content in your body if stopped for DWI in Texas, but doing so often carries with it relatively stiff administrative penalties, including:

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Police Increase DWI Enforcement During No Refusal WeekendsIt is common to see local law enforcement promote no-refusal periods for people suspected of driving while intoxicated. Holidays, such as the upcoming Labor Day weekend, are a popular time for celebrating, which can increase the number of people who are drinking and driving. No-refusal weekends often coincide with these periods in order to punish those who break DWI laws and dissuade others from drinking and driving. Police departments increase their resources to make it more difficult for suspects to avoid blood alcohol concentration tests.

Implied Consent and No Refusal

No refusal refers to circumstances in which a DWI suspect cannot legally refuse to submit to a BAC test, such as a providing a blood or breath sample. Texas has an implied consent law that states that anyone who is allowed to drive in the state has also consented to cooperate with a BAC test. Refusing the test will result in an automatic suspension of the suspect’s driver’s license and can be used as evidence against the suspect in a DWI case. However, some courts have ruled that the implied consent law violates a suspect’s rights under the fourth amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits searching a person without a warrant. In this case, police obtain blood from the suspect in order to search for evidence of intoxication. To get around this defense, police can request a warrant to obtain a suspect’s blood sample. Refusing the warrant would be a criminal offense.

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