As in all states, Texas has an “implied consent” law that goes into effect when you are pulled over on suspicion of drunk and/or drug-impaired driving. Implied consent means that, as part of your driver’s license obligation, you will agree to submit to a breathalyzer or blood test when asked to do so by a police officer.
You can refuse to take a blood or breathalyzer test when requested to do so by a police officer. However, you will be at risk for certain consequences by refusing. Also, in some cases, an officer can request a search warrant from a judge to have you chemically tested. Under those circumstances, you cannot refuse. Law enforcement then has the right to force such a test upon you.
Have you already been arrested for DWI in College Station, Bryan, or anywhere else in Brazos County? You should seek legal representation from an attorney who is experienced in the scientific, technical, and legal factors involved in a Texas DWI. At The Law Office of Shane Phelps, P.C., you can work with an attorney who not only has 30 years of experience but who has reached the highest level of his profession as a Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist.
Refusal to Take a Blood or Breathalyzer Test in Texas
Law enforcement must have probable cause for pulling you over on suspicion of DWI. Were you driving erratically? Weaving in and out of lanes? Drifting off the roadway? These are all signs that a police officer will use to stop you to check for drunk driving. You may then be asked questions about where you have been and what you have been drinking. It is best to politely refuse to answer. You may then be asked to take field sobriety tests to check your coordination or memory. These are notoriously unreliable and you are not obligated to comply. If you haven’t been arrested yet, at this point you can politely refuse any test without any consequences.
However, if the officer arrests you on suspicion of DWI, you are then subject to the implied consent law. The officer then should inform you of what will happen if you refuse. He or she has the choice of what type of test to use, breathalyzer or blood. Once you take the test, it is within your legal rights to get your own blood test done within two hours by a medical practitioner of your own choosing at your own expense.
Testing is mandatory in cases where you have been in a traffic accident where someone was injured or killed or when you have prior DWIs on your record.
What happens if you refuse after being arrested? A refusal carries the penalty of a 180-day suspension of your driver’s license. That suspension could be as much as two years if you have prior DWIs, test refusals, or failed breathalyzer tests in the last 10 years.
Refusing to take a breathalyzer or blood test is up to you. However, just because you refused does not mean you will automatically avoid a DWI conviction. You can still be convicted for drunk or impaired driving based on your behavior as witnessed by the arresting officer. A prosecutor can also use your refusal against you in court, arguing that you refused because you knew you were drunk.
In any DWI, it is important to remember that chemical tests are not infallible and can be challenged in court. The equipment used may have been faulty, improperly maintained or calibrated, or those using the equipment may have administered the tests incorrectly or lacked proper training or qualifications. Many avenues can be explored in any DWI case that put a conviction in doubt. However, you will need a lawyer who understands what to do to find these avenues favorable to your defense.
Contact us at (979) 773-7028 for a free consultation about your DWI or arrange to speak to our attorney online.