Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer or Blood Test In Irving, Texas?

In Irving, Texas, upon the state’s issuing you a driver’s license, you give your implied consent to a breathalyzer or blood test if you are arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI). That said, before an arrest, you have the right to refuse any blood alcohol concentration (BAC) tests via breathalyzer or blood test, as well as any field sobriety tests.

If you refuse a breathalyzer or blood test in Irving, Texas after your arrest, law enforcement must respect your refusal, but it comes at the price of some rather stiff penalties.

Finally, there are certain situations where law enforcement officers can conduct a breathalyzer or blood test without your consent. Officers can compel such tests if they have the impression that you were committing a DWI in a public place, and any one of the following statements is true:

  • You were previously convicted of a DWI with a child age 14 or younger in your vehicle.
  • You had a DWI accident resulting in a person being taken to the hospital, sustaining serious bodily injury, or dying.
  • You have two previous DWI convictions.
  • You have a previous intoxication assault or intoxication manslaughter conviction.

Consequences for Refusing a Breathalyzer or Blood Test

When you refuse a breathalyzer or blood test in Irving, Texas, you risk suspension of your driver’s license. Several factors play into whether this happens, and an administrative hearing weighs those factors to determine the consequences you will face.

Within 15 days of your arrest, you must contact the Texas Department of Public Safety and request your Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing. Failure to take this step in this timeframe will result in an automatic suspension of your license for the maximum allowable period of time.

In the ALR civil proceeding, which occurs in addition to your criminal court proceeding, your DWI history will be reviewed and the appropriate suspension administered accordingly, as follows:

  • First breathalyzer refusal: Up to 180 days suspension
  • Prior DWI: Up to two years suspension
  • Prior breathalyzer refusal: Up to 2 years suspension

Leading Up to the ALR Hearing

The road to an ALR hearing begins the moment a law enforcement officer stops you for suspicion of DWI. They will conduct field sobriety tests, and if you fail them, the officer will arrest you for DWI.

Next comes the BAC tests. You will be administered either a blood test or a breathalyzer test. If your BAC measures 0.08 or higher, or if you refuse the field sobriety tests, you receive a notice of suspension of your driver’s license. Refusal of the field sobriety test results in a suspension of 90 days up to two years.

You need to request your ALR hearing within 15 days of receiving this notice. Otherwise, your suspension goes into effect 40 days following the notification.

The police officer will confiscate your driver’s license and give you a temporary driving permit. You will need to pay a $125 reinstatement fee to have your driver’s license renewed or issued.

How the ALR Hearing Works in Irving, Texas

Your lawyer will accompany you to this hearing. You will present evidence to the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) indicating the reasons why your driver’s license should not be revoked. DPS will also present to the ALJ, but they will demonstrate all the reasons why they should suspense your license.

The judge will consider whether DPS has proven its case. If they believe this to be so, he or she issues an order to authorize the suspension. If they do not believe that DPS has proven its case sufficiently, you get to keep your license.

Although the judge will send his or her final order to all parties, you are entitled to appeal the judge’s decision.

You Can Apply for an Occupational License

If you can prove the need for a driver’s license to perform necessary tasks, you can apply for an occupational license. If you receive this license, you can drive when required to get to and from work, attend school activities, or perform essential household duties.

The decision of whether to grant you an occupational license rests with the justice of the peace, county, or district court where you reside, or the court that has jurisdiction where your DWI occurred. You must send a petition to this court, which will, in turn, decide the matter. If the court rules in your favor, it will give you a court order that you then carry to DPS to get your occupational driver’s license.

Find an Irving, Texas DWI Lawyer to Protect Your Rights

Losing your driver’s license for any period of time can seriously debilitate you when it comes to your everyday life. Consider the benefit of hiring a lawyer to protect your rights and represent your interests in a court of law. 

The Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg can explain your legal options and represent you in your defense. Randall Isenberg, a former prosecutor, and state district judge, can present your case effectively. Call 214-696-9253 today for a free consultation.

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