For some Texans, the first encounter with the criminal justice system comes when they are arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol (DWI). Most DWI charges begin when a police officer stops a driver because the officer suspects drunk driving. During the stop, the police officer will carefully observe the statements and actions of the driver. If they have reason to believe that drunk driving is involved, such as slurred speech or the smell of alcohol, the police officer may make an arrest.
Following the arrest, the police officer will typically ask the driver to provide a blood sample or breath. The purpose of the samples is to determine the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC). In Texas, a person is considered intoxicated if their BAC is .08% or greater. Taking a sample of the driver’s breath is the most common way to determine his or her BAC. This test is commonly called taking a breathalyzer test. Often, clients will ask us whether they have a right to refuse to take the breathalyzer test.
You Can Refuse to Take a Breathalyzer Test But Doing So Has Consequences
Under Texas law, a driver can refuse to take a breathalyzer test. However, the refusal to be tested can be used against you in court. Refusing to take a breathalyzer test will not stop the officer from getting a search warrant to obtain a sample of your blood to test your BAC content. Additionally, refusing to take a breathalyzer test can lead to serious non-criminal consequences, including the suspension of your driver’s license. Under Texas’ implied consent law, drivers give implied consent to blood and breath tests.
Should I Refuse to Take a Breathalyzer Test?
Whether or not you refuse to take a breathalyzer test is a personal decision. It is wise to refuse to admit that you have consumed alcohol or discuss what happened before you began driving. If you choose to refuse a breathalyzer test, it is vital that you understand the potential penalties you will face, including losing your license. It is possible that you could benefit by refusing to submit to a breathalyzer or blood test.
If the prosecution does not have affirmative evidence that your BAC was over the legal limit, they may have a more difficult time obtaining a conviction. On the other hand, the prosecution can use your refusal to take a breathalyzer test as evidence of your guilt, telling the court that you knew you would fail the test so you refused. If you do refuse to take a breathalyzer test, it is imperative that you work with an experienced attorney who will argue on your behalf.
Reach Out to a Dallas/Ft. Worth Criminal Defense Attorney
Being charged with a DWI is a stressful experience, and you may be wondering what your rights are and how you can protect yourself. Whether you have refused a breathalyzer test or not at the time of arrest, DWI charges pose a serious threat to your future and freedom. If you would like to learn more about your legal rights and how we can defend you, contact The Abel Law Firm today.