You are driving along in your car when you start to see flashing lights and hear a siren. You realize that a police officer is trying to pull you over. For many Texans, their first encounter with the criminal justice system involves an arrest related to drug driving. DWI cases usually begin when a suspect is pulled over in their vehicle by a police officer. During the stop, the police officer will watch the driver’s actions and listen to the driver’s statement. The officer may begin to suspect that drunk driving is involved. When the police officer can establish that probable cause exists that the drivers are intoxicated, they will usually make an arrest.
Texas Implied Consent Law
After an arrest for a DWI, the law enforcement officer will ask the suspected drunk driver to provide a sample of their blood or breath. The breath sample is used to determine the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC). It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a BAC of .08% or higher in Texas. Most often, law enforcement officers will use a breathalyzer test. They will ask the suspect to breathe into a machine that will measure their blood alcohol concentration. At this point in the process, many people wonder whether they have to take a breathalyzer test or refuse.
Texas Implied Consent Law
Texas, along with many other states, has an implied consent law. This law requires all drivers in Texas to submit to a breathalyzer test when they have been lawfully arrested for a DWI. If a driver refuses to take a breathalyzer test during the arrest, they can face a mandatory suspension of their driving license. Texas considers a driver’s license to be a privilege, not a right. Therefore, they can revoke a person’s driving privilege when they do not submit to a breathalyzer test.
The Supreme Court has determined that breathalyzer tests do not require a warrant. However, blood tests do require a warrant. Measuring someone’s breath is not as intrusive as taking a blood sample from them. Despite Texas’s implied consent law, you still have significant legal rights when the police ask you to undergo a breathalyzer test.
Police cannot ask you to undergo a breathalyzer test unless they have placed you under arrest for DWI. To arrest you, the police must have probable cause, which is more than suspicion but less than would be required to convince someone, such as proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Remember, the prosecution can use your refusal to take a breathalyzer test as evidence against you at a trial.
Discuss Your Case With a Dallas-Fort Worth Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been arrested for DWI and you refuse a breathalyzer test, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side. Contact Abel Law Firm as soon as possible to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney. We will review the facts of your case and help you develop the best legal defense possible for the DWI charges.