You never know when a police officer is going to pull you over in a traffic stop. Well, if you are flying down a highway at speeds that far exceed the posted limits in the area, chances are you might wind up seeing some flashing red and blue lights in your rear view mirror at some point. However, there may also be a time when you have no clue why a Texas police officer has signaled you to pull off the road.
Of course, the officer who makes the stop is obligated to inform you of the reason. This is definitely something to keep in mind if you wind up facing charges for DWI or some other criminal offense. You do not relinquish your rights even if the officer suspects you of a crime. In fact, you do not have to submit to requests to answer questions (without legal representation present) or to take field sobriety tests, etc. You should know though, that your refusal in certain circumstances may result in penalty.
Be aware of Texas DWI laws before refusing a breath test
Laws that govern impaired driving vary by state. If a police officer asks you to step out of your vehicle, chances are he or she thinks you are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It's true that anything you say or do can later be used to incriminate you. The following information might come in handy if you run into a problem:
- You entered an implied consent agreement with the state when you obtained a driver's license in Texas.
- Implied consent means you have implicitly agreed to certain rules and regulations by virtue of the fact that you applied for and obtained a valid driver's license in this state.
- With regard to DWI investigation, implied consent laws may impact your immediate and long-term future. That's because if you refuse to take a Breathalyzer test or other chemical test when a police officer lawfully requests that you do so, you will incur automatic penalties.
- In Texas, penalties include an automatic 180-day driver's license suspension upon first refusal of a lawfully requested breath test.
- Another important factor regarding DWI laws in this state is that if the court convicts you, you will likely do time in jail. On a first offense, you could be behind bars for as few as three or up to 180 days.
- It's up to the court's discretion whether to mandate you to enter an alcohol education assessment or treatment program.
If a police officer pulls you over on suspicion of DWI and you have passengers (minors in particular) in your vehicle at the time, it may significantly affect the consequences of your situation if the court convicts you. Understanding your rights ahead of time and knowing where to turn for support if a problem arises are often key factors in avoiding conviction or, at least mitigating your circumstances as much as possible.