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Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in Texas?

 Posted on June 29, 2024 in Criminal Defense

Llano County, TX DWI defense attorneyBeing stopped by a law enforcement officer is a stressful situation, and this can be made even more complex if the officer asks you to complete roadside sobriety tests. Many people in this situation are worried about being charged with DWI, or driving while intoxicated, and wonder whether agreeing to the breathalyzer test helps or hurts their odds of conviction. It is important to understand your legal rights so that you can make the best decisions for your specific situation.

In Texas, you can refuse a breathalyzer test in certain situations, though doing so may come with penalties. A knowledgeable Texas DWI defense lawyer can help you navigate your next steps if you have refused a breathalyzer test.

Understanding the Texas Implied Consent Law

Texas has an Implied Consent Law, which applies to all individuals with a valid Texas driver’s license who have been lawfully arrested for a DWI. Under this law, once you are arrested for a suspected DWI, you automatically give your consent for blood or breathalyzer testing.

While you can refuse the breathalyzer test or other blood alcohol content testing procedures, such as blood tests and field sobriety testing, both before and after being arrested for a DWI, there are penalties for refusing the breathalyzer test or a blood test after being arrested.

Additionally, if you refuse the breathalyzer or a field sobriety test before being arrested for a DWI, you may find yourself waiting for law enforcement officers to obtain a warrant for testing. Your refusal may also be documented and potentially used by the prosecution if you find yourself facing DWI charges later on.

What Are the Consequences for Refusing a Breathalyzer Test?

If you refuse a breathalyzer test after being arrested for a DWI, you face a few different consequences, depending on whether this is your first refusal or DWI offense.

Refusing a breathalyzer test may result in:

  • Suspension of your driver’s license for up to 180 days for a first refusal

  • Suspension of your driver’s license for up to two years If you have a prior refusal or DWI on your record

You will also need to attend an administrative hearing about your license, which is something that will occur in addition to criminal proceedings if you have been charged with a DWI or if you refuse a breathalyzer test.

Can The Police Take a Sample Without My Consent?

There are some circumstances where officers can take a breath or blood sample without your explicit consent. In general, law enforcement officers will need to have ‘probable cause’ to believe that you were operating a vehicle under the influence, and one of the following factors will need to be present:

  • You have a previous DWI with a minor child in your vehicle on your record

  • You were involved in an accident where someone died, sustained severe bodily injury, or needed hospital transport

  • You have two previous DWI convictions on your record

  • You have a previous conviction for assault or manslaughter while intoxicated on your record

Contact a Llano, TX DWI Defense Attorney

If you have been arrested for DWI, you will need the assistance of an experienced Llano County, TX DWI defense lawyer. Attorney Russ Alan Baker can help you understand your legal options, and his background in biology makes him uniquely qualified to handle cases involving scientific evidence.

Contact Law Office of Russ Alan Baker, PLLC at 325-216-2006 for a consultation.

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