Technically, if you are arrested and charged with a DWI (driving while intoxicated) in Texas, you are within your rights to refuse a breathalyzer or blood alcohol test. However, due to Texas’ implied consent laws, you will face administrative penalties for your refusal. Here is what you need to know.
What Is Implied Consent?
In Texas, the implied consent law states that if you are arrested for an offense that is connected to your operation of a motor vehicle in a public place, you are deemed to have consented to a test for alcohol in your body. In other words, the act of driving on public Texas roads constitutes consent to a breathalyzer or blood alcohol test.
What If I Refuse the Test?
Note that the penalties for refusing a breathalyzer or blood alcohol test are administrative, not criminal, in nature. However, if you are convicted of DWI despite your refusal, you are responsible for these penalties in addition to the DWI penalties. If you are acquitted of the DWI, you are still responsible for these penalties.
First Offense: Your license will be suspended for 180 days.
Second Offense within 10 years: Your license will be suspended for 2 years.
Note that if your license is suspended for refusing a breathalyzer or blood alcohol test, you are permitted to apply for an occupational license. This would allow you to drive to and from work, as well as to drive in the course of performing essential household duties. You must apply and be approved for this license. Never drive on a suspended license, even for essential tasks.
What Is the Benefit of Refusing the Test?
Whether or not to submit to a breathalyzer or blood alcohol test is a highly personal choice. If you refuse, the penalties are stiff. However, they are lower than the penalties for a DWI conviction. If you refuse to submit and are not convicted of DWI, you are responsible only for the penalties associated with the refusal. However, if you refuse to submit and are convicted, then you must deal with those penalties on top of the DWI penalties.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
DWI is a serious charge with serious consequences. Refusing a breathalyzer or blood alcohol test also carries stiff penalties. If you are facing DWI charges, you need a lawyer. If you also refused to submit to an alcohol test, you should definitely contact an experienced Texas lawyer immediately. We are here to help you fight the charges and attempt to reduce your penalties.
With 6 years of experience as a Harris County prosecutor and 11 years of experience representing clients in a variety of family, domestic, and criminal cases, past president of the Montgomery County Bar Association, Andrea Kolski, has the background you need to win your case. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call Nonstop Justice today at 832-381-3430.