If you are pulled over on suspicion of DWI and the police ask you to take a Breathalyzer test, you have a tough choice to make. True, the police cannot force you to take a test, but if you refuse the test, the state of Texas will suspend your driver’s license for at least 180 days. This is known as the administrative license suspension.
The law that allows the state to do this comes from the Texas Transportation Code. Basically, when a person gets a driver’s license in Texas, he or she does so by agreeing to let the police take a breath sample when there is probable cause to suspect the driver is guilty of DWI. So, while it is not a crime to refuse a breath test, it does have negative consequences for the driver.
Handling an Administrative License Suspension
There are two different ways to handle notice that your license will be suspended for refusing to take a Breathalyzer test. The first way is to roll over and accept the suspension because it is an automatic part of civil law. This is never a good idea for those who want to fight charges of DWI. The best thing to do in these situations is to take a different tack.
The second option for those facing an administrative license suspension because of a DWI is to fight the state over the suspension. Many people do not understand that this is an option because of the automatic nature of the suspension. The law affords each person facing a suspension the opportunity to fight it by going to and presenting evidence at an administrative hearing.
Burden on the State
At an administrative hearing, the state bears the burden of showing to a judge that they are justified in suspending a driver’s license. One of the reasons we have this process is because we all realize how important having a driver’s license is, especially in the state of Texas where personal transportation is crucial to our personal and professional lives.
At the administrative hearing the state must prove several things to uphold the automatic suspension. First, it must show that the police were justified in making the stop in the first place. This means that it has to show that the driver committed some traffic offense, or there was some justifiable reason for making the stop. The police are not entitled to simply make traffic stops whenever they please. They have to show that you were speeding, ran a red light, or committed some other infraction.
Next, the state has the burden to show that there was probable cause to suspect you were driving while intoxicated. Without probable cause to conduct a Breathalyzer, the police are not allowed to do so. While the state presents its evidence, you will have the right to challenge it through cross examination and other means.
Use Every Tool Available
These are a few of the reasons why it is important to challenge a license suspension because of DWI. If you begin the challenge of the DWI at the administrative stage, then the police and state will have to be on record about their case against you, and this can only serve to help you in your fight to challenge your DWI charges.
If you are facing a DWI in Dallas our the surrounding areas, contact us. At The Wilder DWI Defense Firm our name says it all, and we will give you a free case evaluation when you contact us.
(image courtesy of Charlie Deets)