Christmas and No Refusals.
It’s no surprise that the holiday season brings a substantial increase in alcohol-related incidents.
In fact, a Texas Department of Transportation study found an increase of over 30% in alcohol-related fatalities and crashes during last holiday season.
Dallas was ranked 4th most dangerous city in Texas for Holiday drunk driving incidents. With Christmas right around the corner, this is really something to be aware of.
Regardless of debate; “No Refusal” checkpoints still remain present in Texas. The prevalence of these checkpoints drastically increases during holidays.
No Refusal Checkpoints – Are They Legal?
In short, yes they are.
A serious concern during No Refusal periods is blood search warrants. Specifically when an impaired or suspected impaired driver refuses a voluntary blood or even breath sample. They can be detained, questioned and tested on this basis under said warrants.
No Refusal Check Points – How Do They Work?
If a driver is suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol, a police officer may ask the driver to submit to a blood test.
The driver has these options:
- Submit to a blood test
- Submit to a breathalyzer
- Refuse to be tested
What If I Refuse?
Despite the name, a driver still has the right to refuse the test in Texas under Section 724.013 of the Texas Transportation Code.
If you consent, there is little legal recourse because you agreed to testing.
If the officer has to make the additional step of requesting a search warrant, he or she must submit an affidavit thus proving probable cause existed. This doesn’t necessarily mean it will work out in the driver’s favor.
Also, it needs to be understood that Texas as many other states has an “implied consent” law. This law holds; in exchange for driving on Texas roads, drivers that refuse to be tested can automatically have their licenses suspended.
Furthermore, the officer may still detain the driver until a warrant is obtained. Electronic warrants make this process much faster than in the past. After receiving approval of a warrant – the officer has the right to use force to take a blood sample from a driver.
Know The Limits – Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)
- BAC limit for drivers younger than 21 years old: any amount
- BAC limit for drivers 21 years or older: 0.08 percent
- BAC limit for commercial drivers: 0.04 percent
DWI/DUI Penalty Overview:
- First offense: convicted for a first DWI or boating while intoxicated (BWI), A Class B Misdemeanor that carries a maximum fine of $2,000, a jail sentence from 72 hours to 6 months, as well as a license suspension term of 90 days to 1 year.
- First offense: with BAC levels at/above 0.15,
A Class A misdemeanor that carries a maximum fine of $4,000, a jail sentence from 72 hours to one year in jail, and a license suspension term of 90 days to 1 year.
- First offense DWI: with open container enhancement,
this Class B misdemeanor offense level carries a maximum fine of $2,000, a jail sentence from six to 180 days, and a license suspension term of 90 days to 1 year.
Greater penalties apply for second, third, or more DWI/BWI convictions:
- Second offense: DWI/BWI offense level is a Class A misdemeanor carrying maximum fines of $4,000, a jail sentence from 30 days to one year, and a license suspension from 180 days to 2 years.
- Third offense: DWI/BWI offense level is a third-degree felony carrying maximum fines of $10,000 and 2 to 10 years in prison, and a license suspension of 180 days to 2 years.
- Third offense: (or more) DWI/BWI conviction in which the offender has two prior penitentiary terms involves enhanced felony punishments carrying fines of up to $10,000 and 25 years to life in prison and a license suspension of up to 2 years.
- An Intoxication Assault:
a DWI causing serious bodily injury is a third-degree felony carrying fines up to $10,000, 2 to 10 years in prison, and a license suspension of 180 days to two years.
- Intoxication Manslaughter:
a DWI causing death, is a second-degree felony that carries fines up to $10,000, 2 to 10 years in prison, and a license suspension of 180 days to 2 years.
- DWI with a child passenger (child younger than 15 years of age):
a state jail felony that carries a maximum fine of $10,000, six months to 2 years in state jail, and a license suspension of 90 days to 2 years.
Stay Safe This Holiday Season!
Have a fantastic and safe holiday season! Be sure to designate a driver for the night.
Never forget how easy it is to call an Uber or Lyft.If you have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense involving driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence, contact Britt Redden, of Redden Law PLLC for a free legal consultation. Choose an experienced criminal defense Attorney in Dallas, who fights for dismissal of charges by preparing a powerful legal defense strategy.
When the Red and Blue lights are lit, call Britt!
Schedule your free legal consultation.