Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer?

If you are pulled over under suspicion of driving while intoxicated, our Travis County DWI defense attorneys want you to be aware of your rights regarding breathalyzer testing.

Local law enforcement officials are zealous in their efforts at apprehending drunk drivers. If you are pulled over under suspicion of driving while intoxicated (DWI), the police will likely attempt to administer a breathalyzer test. You do have options in terms of refusing a breathalyzer, but it is important to know the advantages and potential consequences you could face.

Implied Consent and Your Right to Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in Travis County

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Travis County is a serious criminal charge. If convicted, penalties you face include heavy fines, a lengthy jail sentence, and suspension of your driving privileges. Prosecutors are aggressive in seeking convictions in these cases and the results of breathalyzer testing provides vital evidence.

As the name implies, a breathalyzer measures the amount of alcohol on a person’s breath, which can then be used to determine their blood alcohol concentration or content (BAC) level. If your BAC is over the legal limit of 0.08% or if you appear visibly intoxicated, you can be charged with driving while impaired.

Under the Texas Penal Code, there are implied consent laws. This means that if you are arrested by law enforcement under suspicion of DWI, a breathalyzer test is required. If you do not comply in this situation and refuse a breathalyzer, police can compel you to take one or obtain blood samples. If you have not actually been arrested and are not showing obvious signs of alcohol impairment, you do have the right to refuse breathalyzer testing. However, you could find yourself still facing certain penalties.

Pros and Cons of Refusing a Breathalyzer in Texas

If you are arrested under suspicion of driving while intoxicated and refuse to take a breathalyzer test, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) warns that your driver’s license can be automatically suspended as a result. For a first offense, the suspension time is 180 days, For a second or subsequent refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test, your license will be suspended for two years.

While a driver’s license suspension of any length is a definite drawback, there are certain advantages to refusing testing, particularly if you have not been taken into custody. These include:

  • It can prevent you from being placed under arrest;
  • Once arrested and charges, it robs prosecutors of important evidence in your case;
  • Delayed testing creates doubt in regards to results;
  • Doubts about the results and disputes over when or how the test was administered can help prevent a conviction and more severe penalties for DWI.

Discuss Your Case With Our Travis County DWI Defense Attorney

When facing DWI charges in Travis County, you need someone with experience in these types of cases and the laws that apply on your side. Discuss your case with our Travis County DWI defense attorneys. To request a confidential consultation, call or contact Granger and Mueller, P.C. online today.