Refusing a Breathalyzer When Pulled Over

While police can use information from a breathalyzer to charge you with DWI, refusing the test could result in serious penalties.

Being charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas is a serious criminal matter. In addition to fines and the loss of your driving privileges, these charges remain on your criminal record and could impact your ability to obtain a job, housing, or certain public positions. Once you are pulled over under suspicion of DWI, one of the first things the officer is likely to do is request that you perform a breathalyzer. While you do have a choice in terms of cooperating, failure to do so could result in severe penalties.

Implied Consent and DWI Testing

Under Section 49.04 of the Texas Penal Code, driving while intoxicated (DWI) is against the law. The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is .08%. However, having below this limit could still result in DWI charges while registering above could result in more serious penalties.

Officers end up apprehending drunk drivers either through DWI checkpoints or as a result of suspicious behavior the driver is engaged in while on the road. Once pulled over, you may be required to perform a roadside sobriety test. If the police have reason to suspect that you are under the influence, they may request that you perform a breathalyzer test.

This involves blowing into a tube attached to a special machine that analyzes your BAC level. While police cannot force you to undergo this test, your consent is implied. This means that by accepting a driver’s license in the state, you agree to be subject to testing in the event of a suspected DWI.

Consequences of Refusing a Breathalyzer

While consent to DWI testing is implied, you still have the right to refuse a breathalyzer. As it provides important evidence for police in obtaining a conviction against you, it may seem like a logical choice to refuse. However, it is important to be aware of the penalties you could face as a result.

Under Sections 724.031-035 of the Texas Transportation Code, refusing a breathalyzer results in an automatic driver’s license suspension. If this is your first DWI-related offense, the suspension will be for 180 days. If you have a previous offense on your record, your license could be suspended for two years.

In light of these penalties, you may be wondering whether it is wise to refuse testing and if you do consent, how it will impact your defense. As experienced Austin DWI lawyers, we can still make strong arguments on your behalf, regardless of your breathalyzer results. Tactics we may take include:

● Disputing the circumstances surrounding the traffic stop or your arrest;

● Disputing how the breathalyzer test was performed;

● Disputing how the machine performed and the accuracy of the results.

Get Our Austin DWI Defense Lawyers on Your Side

At Granger and Mueller PC, we can help build a strong defense against DWI charges. To get our team fighting on your behalf, call or contact our Travis County DWI defense lawyers online today and request a consultation.

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