Cowboys' Jay Ratliff in DWI Crash Involving 18-Wheeler - Tarnished Twenty
Tarnished Twenty- The FindLaw Sports Law Blog

Cowboys' Jay Ratliff in DWI Crash Involving 18-Wheeler

The Dallas Cowboys' Jay Ratliff was arrested for a suspected DWI after he allegedly lost control of his pickup truck and struck an 18-wheeler.

The 31-year-old nose tackle was not injured in the accident as his Ford F-150 then crashed into a guardrail, reports Dallas' WFAA-TV.

Officers who responded to the scene arrested Ratliff after they reportedly observed "clear indications" that he had been drinking. The football player refused to take a Breathalyzer test and was taken to a police station where a warrant was obtained to draw his blood.

Jay Ratliff could now face more serious penalties for his DWI, given the fact that he refused an alcohol breath test.

Texas, like most other states, has implied consent laws. What this means is that someone who drives in Texas is presumed to give his consent to an alcohol breath or blood test should he ever be arrested on suspicion of drunken driving. If a driver refuses, that person could face penalties -- regardless of how the underlying DWI charge turns out.

However, as shown in Ratliff's case, just because you refuse a Breathalyzer test, this does not mean that officers cannot pursue some other means of measuring your blood alcohol content.

If the police are able to get a warrant showing probable cause that you were driving while intoxicated, they can force you to provide a blood sample. Unlike a standard Breathalyzer test administered at the scene of the suspected DWI, one cannot refuse this test under a warrant.

The results of Ratliff's blood test have not yet been reported. If his blood alcohol level is above 0.08 percent, he could face DWI charges on top of the potential penalties for refusing the Breathalyzer test. It's notable that Ratliff's arrest happened just a month after the tragic accident that killed his teammate Jerry Brown Jr. Fellow Cowboy Josh Brent was charged with intoxication manslaughter for that incident.

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