On the occasion that you catch yourself in a compromising situation, I don't know if the first thought to enter your mind is, "What would my elected officials do?" However, in the case of deciding whether or not to take a breathalyzer test when pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, otherwise known as DWI or DUI, we know now the answer. More than a dozen elected officials in Texas have been stopped in recent years and asked to submit to a test to determine blood-alcohol content, otherwise known as BAC. Except in the two cases in which these public servants were stopped in another state, they refused to comply every time. This far exceeds the general public's refusal rate of about fifty percent. Should more of us be following the example set by these men and women who have appeared on our local ballots?
The unfortunate truth is that, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Texas leads the nation in alcohol-related deaths, whether DWI or DUI, and some believe that this statistic may be due to the lenient laws that our state has when it comes to monitoring people's behavior on the roads. Texas is one of only ten states that does not allow for sobriety checkpoints. And, unlike a growing number of other states, Texas does not require breath and blood collection in suspected DWI arrests. Under current Texas law, drivers who refuse to submit to a sobriety test are supposed to have their licenses suspended for 180 days. However, the circumstances surrounding the arrest and refusal can easily be appealed and the suspension is often dismissed.
Most criminal defense attorneys will argue that, under current Texas law, those who are suspected of driving under the influence are better off not taking a sobriety test. Perhaps the frightening statistics will eventually lead to changes made to our state laws. Whatever the legal details may be, all of us at Bertolino LLP believe that you should never drink if you know you will be driving. However, if you make the unfortunate decision to drive under the influence of alcohol, our Austin and San Antonio criminal defense attorneys who practice DWI law and DUI law can help. Please contact our criminal defense lawyers at our Austin, Houston, or San Antonio offices today.