After Your DWI Arrest
If you have been arrested for DWI or DUI in Fort Worth, Arlington, Mansfield or in the surrounding cities of Tarrant County, you were likely transported to the police department and given statutory forms that required you to immediately decide whether to give a breath or blood test.
Did You Know that Texas Law Implies Your Consent to a DWI Breath or Blood Test?
Under Texas Transportation Code §724.011, if you are arrested for a DWI or BWI (Boating While Intoxicated) you are deemed to have consented “to submit to the taking of one or more specimens of (your) breath or blood for analysis to determine the alcohol concentration or the presence in (your) body of a controlled substance, drug, dangerous drug or other substance.”
Although Texas law presumes that you have consented to a breath or blood test at the time of your DWI arrest, you have the option to refuse to submit to a breath or blood test. However, Texas law punishes you for refusing to submit to a breath or blood test by extending the length of your driver’s license suspension (See DWI Driver’s License Suspension).
The Statutory Warning: DIC-24
After your DWI or DUI arrest, the police officer is required to provide you a written copy of a statutory warning, known as the DIC-24. The DIC-24 statutory warning is a form that informs a person arrested for DWI that they have been arrested for a DWI or DUI and that a breath or blood specimen is being formally requested by law enforcement to determine your alcohol concentration.
Normally, the police officer quickly reads through the DIC-24 while you stand nervously in the corner of the Intoxilyzer room. The police officer will ask you to follow along and quickly inform you of the following:
“If you refuse to give the specimen, that refusal may be admissible in a subsequent prosecution. Your license, permit, or privilege to operate a motor vehicle will be suspended or denied for not less than 180 days, whether or not you are prosecuted for this offense. If you are 21 years of age or older and submit to the taking of a specimen and an analysis of the specimen shows that you have an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more, your license, permit or privilege to operate a motor vehicle will be suspended for not less than 90 days, whether or not you are subsequently prosecuted for this offense. If you are younger than 21 years of age and have any detectable amount of alcohol in your system, your license, permit or privilege to operate a motor vehicle will be suspended for not less than sixty (60) days. However, if you submit to the taking of a specimen and an analysis of the specimen shows that you have an alcohol concentration of less than 0.08, you may be subject to criminal penalties less severe than those provided for under Chapter 49, Penal Code.”
After being read the preceding information, the police officer will then ask you to give a specimen of your breath or blood. It is the police officer’s choice as to whether to ask you for a breath or blood test.
What if I asked for the help of an attorney or didn’t understand the DIC-24?
You were likely very nervous, upset and possibly emotional as the officer quickly read through the details of the DIC-24 statutory warning. A reasonably educated non-intoxicated Tarrant County citizen could easily be confused by the details of the DIC-24 (considering all of the different suspension periods listed and the legal language used in creating the form). If you were confused or wanted questions answered regarding the content of the DIC-24, it is likely that the police officer only responded by repeatedly asking you whether you would submit or refuse the breath or blood test. If you continued to ask questions and wanted clarification regarding the meaning of the DIC-24, it is likely that the police officer treated your inquiries as a refusal and marked you as a REFUSAL on the DIC-24 form.
Additionally, many Tarrant County citizens that become confused by language in the DIC-24 will ask to speak to an attorney before submitting or refusing to submit to a DWI breath or blood test. Unfortunately, if you ask to speak to a criminal attorney, most Tarrant County police officers have been trained to inform you that you do not have a right to speak to an attorney (which is true but very few citizens know or would assume to be true) and will mark you as a REFUSAL on the DIC-24 form.
At The Hampton Law Firm, we understand that the forms provided to you and the events that transpired after your DWI arrest may have been confusing and overwhelming. Call The Hampton Law Firm now to schedule a free consultation and allow the DWI trial team to answer all of your questions.