When a citizen is suspected of driving while intoxicated (DWI) they have the absolute right to refuse field sobriety testing, to refuse submitting to a breath or blood test, and to refuse to answer any questions that may incriminate themselves. However, the latest craze among Texas jurisdictions is for the police to obtain a blood search warrant. In other words, the police obtain an order from a judge compelling the accused driver to provide a blood sample for alcohol testing. To obtain a blood search warrant the police need probable cause, or reasonable grounds, to believe the suspect driver was driving while intoxicated. They can use the results of field sobriety testing, incriminating answers to police questions, and any observed poor driving to develop this probable cause.
However, the blood search warrant may be more successfully challenged if the driver refuses to submit to any sobriety tests and refuses to answer any incriminating questions by the police. The police do not seek search warrants in every case but the frequency of using search warrants in DWI investigations is on the rise in Texas. A reasonable course of action for the suspect driver who has been drinking is to say as little as possible, do as little as possible, and be as polite as possible. Short of physically refusing, the driver should politely refuse all sobriety testing and never give the police permission to take a blood sample. Furthermore, the person should never submit to providing a blood sample believing the police will get a warrant anyway. Finally, don’t forget to consult with an experienced Bryan-College Station criminal defense lawyer as quickly as possible to help you navigate these treacherous legal waters.
Stephen Gustitis is a criminal defense lawyer in Bryan-College Station. He is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He is also a husband, father, and retired amateur bicycle racer.