Texas DWI Defense Attorney Discusses Important Supreme Court Decision

A recent decision by the United States Supreme Court is of interest to drivers in Texas and elsewhere because it could change the choices that are available to suspected drunk drivers during their traffic stops. The Supreme Court’s recent decision in Birchfield vs. North Dakota holds that while police must have a search warrant before they can draw a driver’s blood over their objection, a warrant is not required before demanding a breath test. The court’s rationale for differentiating between blood tests and breath tests is that breath tests are less intrusive than blood tests, so it makes sense that they should be handled differently. The Birchfield decision also gives states the authority to make refusing to take a breath test a crime.

In Texas, it is not currently a crime to refuse a breath test, but refusal usually results in a loss of driving privileges. The Birchfield decision gives the Texas Legislature the ability to pass legislation making it a crime to refuse a breath test at any time. Since Texas already has No Refusal weekends and holidays, it would not be surprising if this kind of legislation comes sooner rather than later so that refusal of a breath test at any time would be a crime. Under the current rules, during a “no refusal” weekend, Texas drivers who are suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol can be required by police to submit to roadside breath or blood tests. During “no refusal” weekends and holidays, every driver who refuses to submit to roadside breath or blood alcohol testing is arrested, and a blood sample is obtained from them while they are in police custody.

The exact procedure for obtaining blood samples from drivers who refuse roadside testing during No Refusal weekends varies slightly across the state. In many places, the process begins during a traffic stop when a DWI suspect refuses to submit to roadside breath or blood testing. The police then take the driver into custody and transport them to a central processing facility, which might be a jail, a mobile blood draw van or a hospital. While the driver is in custody, the arresting officer applies for a blood draw warrant from a night judge, and if the judge issues the warrant, a nurse or other medical professional then obtains the blood sample from the suspect.

If you face Texas DWI charges, you may have many questions and concerns. There is a lot at stake, including your driving privileges and your freedom, and you are likely to want to do everything in your power to preserve those things that are most important to you. Jack Pettit, Attorney at Law, can help you navigate the DWI case process with the goal of arriving at an outcome that will work for you. Texas DWI Defense Attorney Pettit has helped many Texas DWI clients with their DWI cases, and he might be able to help you. To learn more, please call 214-521-4567 today.

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