One state in the Union is looking to toughen its DWI laws. A lawmaker from Florida is proposing new laws for DWI suspects who refuse to take a blood or alcohol test in connection with a DWI investigation. If passed, the new laws will be on dubious legal ground and will be sure to face challenges in the courts.
This newest proposal is one of many that states, including Texas, continue to introduce in an effort to curb DWI infractions. As we recently saw in Minnesota, a warrantless DWI urine test is considered unconstitutional. In that state, lawmakers’ efforts to strengthen DWI penalties and make investigations, and therefore convictions, failed.
Here in Texas our courts recently struck down portions of Texas implied consent laws over concerns about their constitutionality, as well. Despite these difficulties, state legislatures and lawmakers continue to issue stricter and stricter laws to get more and more DWI convictions.
What the Florida Law Would Do
Under the proposed law, refusing to take an alcohol-level test for the first time would be garner a $500 to $1000 fine, put the offender on probation for six months, and take points off their driving record. Second and third time offenders would face even stiffer penalties, including jail time. The legality of this proposed scheme seems doubtful, at best.
Imagine any other criminal investigation scenario. Imagine a law that required you to let the police come into your home and search your through your things, and if your refuse, penalize you with a crime. It is clear that such a law would be struck down because the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution grants each of us the right to be safe from unreasonable searches and seizures by the police. Criminalizing a person’s ability to exercise that right, as this proposed law would do, would certainly fail a constitutional challenge.
Defending Your Rights in Texas
Like most states, Texas also has an implied consent law. When a person refuses to take a breathalyzer or other test in connection with a DWI investigation, they only face civil consequences. Your license could be suspended, but you can not be convicted of a crime for simply exercising your constitutional rights to demand a warrant to be searched.
In fact, if you have been accused of DWI and are facing a license suspension for refusing to take a test, contact us. At the Wilder DWI Defense Firm we will represent you at your license revocation hearing and ensure that the police and other witness there are on record for the criminal case against you for DWI. This has many decided advantages for your case. Anytime the police or other witnesses are on record, it adds details and facts to your case that they will be held to when you get your chance to confront the witnesses against you in court.
At our firm we are dedicated to do everything available under the law to ensure your rights are defended. Our practice is dedicated to fighting charges and getting the best result possible for our clients. If you have been charged with DWI in the Dallas area, contact us. We look forward to helping you in your case.