New Supreme Court ruling could affect Texas DWI law

Supreme Court ruling on drunk driving

The Supreme Court made big changes this week to what police can do if you're pulled over for drunk driving, but how will that affect Texans?

Part of that new ruling says police can conduct a breathalyzer test even without a warrant. Current state law says that you don't have to give police a breath test.

If you say no, though, this is what a DWI attorney says usually happens next.

“In most counties, they'll ask you to give them a blood specimen, and people usually refuse that too, at that point,” attorney George Scharmen said.

And at that point, you usually sit in jail while police get a search warrant. In big cities, like San Antonio, that doesn't take long.

“You go to rural counties where you don't have judges available to sign search warrants, who are lawyers, they don't take blood,” Scharmen noted. “If you refuse a breath test, they don't get anything.”

In some cases, charges have been dropped.

Now, the Supreme Court has given local and state lawmakers the green light to force you to give a breath test if they want to. San Antonio police said that they are looking at how, if at all, this will change department policy.

For the time being, Scharmen said that nothing will change.

“The Supreme Court doesn't make the legislative laws for Texas,” Scharmen said. “They're just saying if Texas chose to make it a crime to refuse a breath test, they’re not going to stop them.”

The court also ruled that you need a search warrant to get a blood test. However, police can't threaten you with a crime if you refuse one.

There is no change here in Texas, but it will affect the law in other states.

© 2017 KENS-TV


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