You’re pulled over for rolling too fast through a stop sign or making a turn a bit too wide. The next thing you know, the officer says that they’re concerned you may be intoxicated. They want you to take a Breathalyzer test.
Can you refuse? Yes, but there are a few things you need to consider before you take that step.
You face an automatic penalty for refusal
Like all other states, drivers in Texas are presumed to have consented to chemical testing as a condition of having a license in the first place. If you refuse to submit to a Breathalyzer test when asked, your license will automatically be suspended for 180 days.
The prosecutor may use your refusal against you
Without chemical proof that you were intoxicated, the prosecutor may have a harder time convicting you of driving while intoxicated (DWI), but there’s nothing stopping them from arguing that you refused to take the test because you knew you would blow higher than the legal limit. That kind of logic can be very persuasive in court.
You could end up being tested anyhow
There’s also no guarantee that the police won’t simply obtain a blood test, instead of the Breathalyzer. Just recently, for example, the police in Austin were conducting a “no-refusal initiative” aimed at getting drunk drivers off the street during the holiday season. If someone refused the Breathalyzer exam, the police simply obtained a search warrant for their blood.
While that may not always happen — it could, especially if a police officer is very determined and a judge is willing.
There are plenty of ways to challenge the accuracy of a Breathalyzer exam and other defenses that may apply to your case. If you’re charged with drunk driving, let an experienced defender protect your future.