24 May What Is A No Refusal Weekend
Recently, many people have asked me about what happens after you are arrested for Driving While Intoxication (DWI). So here is a brief explanation of the post-arrest specimen request:
After a police officer makes an arrest for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), the officer will ask the arrested individual to provide a sample of breath or blood to determine their alcohol level. Remember, a person commits the offense of DWI when they are operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. In Texas, Intoxication is defined as not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body; or having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more. While .08 is the legal limit in Texas, the precise alcohol level is determined after the arrest is made, when blood is drawn and later sent to a lab for analysis or breath test is provided. This means that during the time the arrest is conducted, an officer must go off his gut/training to determine if a person is around or over the legal limit.
When does a police officer ask for the breath test?
After the arrest is made, the police officer will read to the arrested individual the Statutory Warning (DIC-24). The photo above is a copy of the actual form the police will read and provide to you after the DWI arrest. The Statutory Warning advises a person “the consequences of refusing to submit to the taking of a specimen or providing a specimen.” If an individual provides a sample over .08, their license will be suspended automatically for 90 days. If a person refuses to provide a sample, their license will be suspended automatically for 180 days. The periods of suspension may be longer if it is a second or more DWI offense. The only way to prevent the automatic suspension is to request an Administrative License Hearing within 15 days after an arrest. Once the hearing is requested, the license will not be suspended until an administrative law judge decides your case.
Who decides if the arrested individual provides a breath or blood test?
The simple answer is the police officer. The officer may ask for either a breath or blood sample, the arrested individual does not get to pick which one to provide.
What if I agree to provide a sample?
If someone agrees to provide a breath test, then the person will be taken to the intoxilyzer room at the police station. Once in the intoxilyzer room, the process for obtaining the breath test will occur. After the test is performed, the instrument will print out the breath test simple that will provide the results of the breath test.
If someone agrees to a blood test, then the person is taken to a local hospital for the blood draw. Some police agencies have blood draw rooms at their jail. Of course, once the blood sample has been taken, the blood must be analyzed. This means that unlike the breath test, there are not immediate results available. Results can sometimes take weeks to get in.
What happens if I refuse to provide a sample?
Back in the day, if someone refuses to provide a sample, nothing happened. Most of the time the arrested individual was charged with DWI based off the evidence gathered by the officer without a breath or blood test score. Now, if a person refuses to provide a sample, especially in Tarrant County, the officer will apply for a search warrant to obtain the sample. It even states in the Statutory Warning “if you refuse to submit to the taking of a specimen, the officer may apply for a warrant authorizing a specimen to be taken from you.” Instead of “may apply” it really means “will apply” for a warrant. The police departments in Tarrant and the surrounding counties are set up to obtain a search warrant to take a blood sample from the arrested individual 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
So, that means every day is a No Refusal Weekend?
Yes! Although there may not be the warning from the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office or our local police departments as there are around holidays, every day is truly a no refusal day. Every day, no matter if it is a holiday or not, police officers obtain warrants to take a blood sample from individuals arrested for DWI who refuse to provide a sample.