Texas Court: Implied Consent Valid for DUI Driver
Under California’s vehicle codes, drivers suspected of a DUI in Los Angeles must submit to breathalyzer or blood tests or face a license suspension of one year for the first offense (two years for the second offense and three years for the third) and must pay a fine of $125.
Texas has a similar implied consent law, and the state’s appeals court has just upheld its constitutionality.
Officer Luis Villarreal of the McAllen, Texas, Police Department pulled John Andrew Rankin over on July 19, 2014, after the driver breezed through a blinking red light without stopping. The officer reported that Rankin smelled strongly of alcohol, had bloodshot eyes and slurred his speech. When Rankin failed field sobriety tests, Villarreal arrested him for driving under the influence. At the police station, Rankin refused to take a breathalyzer test.
When Rankin subsequently lost his license, he took his case to court, arguing that his arrest was unconstitutional on several grounds. According to news reports, Rankin’s lawyer argued that suspending his client’s license for refusing the breathalyzer violated his First Amendment rights. The attorney said that using implied consent to obtain a BAC violated due process because it was a way around getting a warrant from a judge.
In denying Rankin’s appeal, the judges said that Rankin did not present adequate case law to support his arguments. They pointed out that Rankin was not forced to take a breathalyzer test against his will. “Officer Villarreal requested permission to collect a sample of Rankin’s breath. Rankin refused the request, and Officer Villarreal abided Rankin’s refusal. Officer Villarreal did not forcibly obtain a specimen of Rankin’s breath or blood; he did not obtain a specimen without a warrant. Rankin’s ability to refuse a breath or blood test is derived from statute and carries with it the consequences of his choice.”
To develop an effective, evidence-based defense to your Los Angeles DUI charges, call Harvard Law School educated attorney Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group today for a free consultation.