HBA-AMW, SEP H.B. 63 77(R)BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 63 By: Wolens Criminal Jurisprudence 7/19/2001 Enrolled BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE The Department of Public Safety (DPS) is authorized to suspend the driver's license of an individual who refuses to submit to a breath or chemical test or who provides a specimen with a prohibited alcohol concentration. Many drivers are deciding that the additional 30-day suspension for refusing to submit to a breath test is better than the consequences of failing a breath test. Several states have enacted stricter penalties for refusal to take a breath test, including increasing the amount of time that driver's licenses are suspended. House Bill 63 increases the driver's license suspension period for a person who refuses to take the breath test or fails the breath test and authorizes an arresting officer to confiscate a driver's license at the time of arrest for refusal to take or failure of a breath test. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. ANALYSIS House Bill 63 amends the Transportation Code to require a peace officer to take possession of any stateissued driver's license of and to issue a temporary driving permit to a person who is arrested for driving while intoxicated, intoxication assault, or intoxication manslaughter or a person who refuses to submit to the taking of a specimen of the person's breath or blood. The peace officer is not required to issue a temporary driving permit to a person who does not hold a valid driver's license. The bill requires the peace officer to send to the Department of Public Safety (DPS) the driver's license and other information relevant to the arrest. The bill sets forth expiration and effective dates for the temporary driving permit (Sec. 524.011). The bill increases the length of time that a license may be suspended for a person who commits specified alcohol-related offenses and increases the period of time from five years to ten years for which a person's driving record shows an alcohol-related or drug-related enforcement contact preceding a person's arrest. The length of time that a license may be suspended is increased from: _60 to 90 days, for a person who has no alcohol-related or drug-related enforcement contacts during the preceding ten years; _120 days to one year, for a person who has previously had a license suspended for refusing to submit a specimen or having an alcohol concentration above the legal limit during the preceding ten years; _180 days to one year, for a person who has been previously convicted of an alcoholrelated or drug-related offense during the preceding ten years (Sec. 524.022). The bill requires DPS to notify persons of the effect of a request for a hearing to stay suspension of a license and the effect of a request for a continuance (Sec. 524.037). The bill increases the length of time from 90 to 180 days that DPS is required to suspend the license of a person who refuses to submit a specimen. The length of the suspension is increased from 120 to 180 days if the person is younger than 21 years of age. The bill provides that the length of the suspension is increased from 180 days to two years if the person's driving record shows one or more alcohol-related or drugrelated enforcement contacts during the preceding ten years. For a person younger than 21 years of age, the period of suspension is increased from 240 days to two years (Sec. 724.015). The bill specifies that the provisions regarding the suspension of a driver's license for refusal to submit to the taking of a specimen apply only to a person arrested for an offense involving the operation of a watercraft powered with an engine having a manufacturer's rating of 50 horsepower or above (watercraft) while intoxicated. The bill also adds the operation while intoxicated of a watercraft to provisions regarding a peace officer's written refusal report and regarding issues at a hearing on the suspension or denial of a driver's license for refusal to submit to the taking of a specimen. The bill increases from $100 to $125 the fee that a person whose driver's license is suspended for failure to pass the test for intoxication or refusal to supply a specimen is required to pay for reinstatement of the license. The bill also increases from $100 to $125 the fee that a person subject to a denial of license order is required to pay to obtain a driver's license after the period of denial has ended. These fee increases apply only to a person who applies to DPS for the reinstatement of the person's driver's license after September 1, 2001 (Sec. 524.051, Sec. 724.046, and SECTION 14). EFFECTIVE DATE September 1, 2001.