Chemical Testing

Law enforcement has certain procedures they must follow if they spot a person driving while intoxicated (DWI). One of the most crucial components is DWI chemical testing. If you have been pulled over for a DWI, it’s likely that an officer will ask you to submit to blood, breath, or urine testing.

An officer must have probable cause to test you. In addition, chemical testing isn’t always properly administered which can lead to skewed results. The best option for most drivers is to refuse chemical testing altogether. Exercising your right to refuse can be beneficial in the long run but you may be forced to face some consequences. Refusal to submit to testing can lead to the suspension of your license. 

If you or someone you know has been charged with a DWI and refused testing, it’s important that you gain trusted legal representation now.

DWI Attorney for Chemical Testing in Cameron County, Texas

If you have refused chemical testing for a DWI, it’s vital that you act now. You only have 15 days to request an administrative license suspension hearing. Hiring a skilled attorney can help you file for an administrative hearing, collect evidence for your case, and battle for your rights. 

Attorney Johnathan Gracia is a lifelong Brownsville resident with a passion for defending the city’s residents. He has the extensive knowledge and resources needed to fight your charges. With Johnathan Gracia, you will never leave you on the backburner. Rest assured he will inform and guide you throughout every phase of the case.

Call us now at 956-504-2211 for a free consultation. The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. defends those accused of a DWI throughout the greater Brownsville area including La Feria, Port Isabel, Rio Hondo, and San Benito.

Overview of Chemical DWI Testing in Texas

Types of Chemical Testing

The results of chemical testing are valuable evidence for the prosecution. It’s much more difficult to prosecute an DWI case with objective case evidence rather than the concrete details from testing. Consequently, it can be more advantageous to refuse chemical testing when you’ve been pulled over for a DWI.

The following are the different types of chemical testing used by law enforcement.

  • Breath Analysis – Breath-alcohol concentration (BAC) tests are easily the most common chemical tests used for DWI cases. Normally a breath test is administered by either a portable breath test (PBT) or at a device found at a local police station such as an Intoxilyzer 5000. A breathalyzer test measures the number of grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath. These tests can give skewed or incorrect results if the machine isn’t operated or maintained properly.
  • Blood Analysis – Law enforcement use blood tests to measure the number of grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. It’s common to be asked to give a blood test if you have already not agreed to field sobriety or breath testing. Blood samples are collected and analyzed by technicians at a state or private crime lab. Tainted or mishandled samples can lead to inaccurate results.
  • Urine Analysis – In some cases, an arresting officer will ask you to give a urine sample for technicians to analyze at a crime laboratory. Qualified personnel will measure the number of grams of alcohol per 67 milliliters of urine. It’s rare for law enforcement to ask for urine samples, and normally a urine analysis is reserved for narcotics cases. Issues such as diluted samples can lead to false positives in urine testing.

Common Chemical DWI Testing Errors

Chemical testing isn’t a flawless process. These tests are given on such a routine bases that incorrect results are often overlooked. An inaccurate test can be the pivotal evidence that convicts you, enhances your penalties, or adds additional charges to your case. The following are some common errors and mistakes that can happen during the chemical testing process. 

  • Mishandled samples;
  • Diluted samples;
  • Contaminated samples;
  • Outdated equipment;
  • Badly maintained equipment;
  • Operating equipment improperly;
  • Tests administrated by unqualified personnel;
  • Unsupervised test administrators;
  • Testing is done by unqualified laboratories; and
  • Dishonest test results.

Implied Consent Laws in Texas

All Texan drivers are subject to implied consent laws. Texas Transportation Code § 724.012 states that by driving on public roads you have implicitly agreed to take any sort of chemical testing provided by law enforcement. However, you still have a right to refuse any chemical testing, but you will have to face the consequences. 

Withdrawing consent for chemical testing will result in an automatic suspension of your license under an administrative action referred to as an Administrative License Revocation (ALR). The suspension will be for up to 180 days and the refusal itself can be used against you in trial. A second refusal event can lead to a suspension for up to two years.

How to Stop an Administrative License Revocation

If you refuse to take a chemical test, then the arresting officer can suspend your license. After the arrest is over, you have 15 days to request an administrative license suspension hearing. Take note, this is a strict deadline. Failure to request a hearing in the given time will mean you have waived any right to contest your suspension. 

If you have requested a hearing, the procedure will take place at the State Office of Administrative Hearings. Typically, it takes four months to receive a notice to appear for the hearing. It’s extremely important to have an attorney on your side during an administrative hearing. An experienced attorney can prepare for the hearing, contest for your right to operate a vehicle, and present reasonable compelling evidence of why you chose to refuse the testing.

Additional Resources

Breath Alcohol Testing | DPS – Visit the official website for the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and find more information on Texas breath-alcohol testing regulations.  Learn more about the positions of qualified test administrators, breath-alcohol instrument operator schools, and resources for those who want to learn more about breath analysis.

Texas Implied Consent Laws – Visit the official website for Texas laws and legislation and find more information regarding Texas implied consent laws. Learn how the statutes define BAC measurements, what information must be given by an officer before requesting testing, and what can happen upon refusal.

Chemical Testing Lawyer in Brownsville, Texas

If you or someone you know has refused DWI chemical testing, it’s vital that you seek trusted legal representation. An experienced attorney can file motions, request an administrative hearing, and use defense strategies to fight for you.

Johnathan Gracia is a distinguished attorney with a strong focus in criminal defense. He has handled numerous refusal cases and has contested against many types of chemical testing procedures. Find an attorney who has the knowledge and drive you need for your case. Call Johnathan Gracia at 956-504-2211 to schedule a free consultation.

The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. practices law throughout the greater Cameron County area and surrounding counties including Hidalgo County and Willacy County.

This article was last updated on November 5, 2018.