Texas has numerous state statutes related to driving while intoxicated (DWI) offenses. Obviously, there are criminal statutes prohibiting the operation of a motor vehicle while visibly impaired or with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit.
The state also has an implied consent law that applies to everyone using Texas roads or holding a Texas driver’s license. These parties preemptively agree to chemical testing when police officers have probable cause to suspect impairment at the wheel.
How can the Texas implied consent law influence DWI cases?
It helps the state gather evidence
Compelling people to submit evidence implicating themselves can be very difficult. The implied consent law gives police officers leverage that can help them build a case against a motorist. Provided that they have the probable cause necessary to arrest someone for a DWI, they also have reason to require a chemical test. Officers may inform someone of the implied consent law to convince them to perform a test, which in turn may provide the state with evidence regarding their BAC at the time of their arrest.
It increases the possible penalties
Someone arrested for a DWI in Texas could end up in prison if they plead guilty or get convicted. A judge could order them to pay large fines, sentence them to probation or suspend their driver’s license. If someone also violated the implied consent law by refusing a chemical test, they could face additional penalties. Implied consent violations typically lead to additional driver’s license penalties.
It can affect someone’s trial
In theory, a motorist who declines a chemical test during a DWI arrest prevents the state from gathering key chemical evidence against them. Of course, an officer could potentially go to a judge to seek a warrant for a blood draw at that point. They could also testify in court about not just someone’s behavior prior to and during the arrest but also their refusal to perform the test. The testimony of the officer and the alleged implied consent violation could increase the chances of someone’s conviction during a trial.
There are many different defense strategies that can work for those accused of a DWI offense. Seeking legal guidance and understanding relevant laws may help people better respond to pending Texas DWI charges.