If I am arrested for
drunk driving in Texas, can I refuse to take a sobriety test?
Technically, you have the legal right to refuse a breath or blood BAC (blood
alcohol content) test even after you’ve been arrested and charged with a
DWI in Texas. Of course, this legal right disappears if the arresting officer
has a warrant, but even without the warrant you should still consider
the issue of Texas’ implied consent laws.
What are DWI implied consent laws?
According to Texas implied consent laws, if you drive on public roadways,
you have implicitly consented to a chemical test in the case that you
are arrested for drunk driving. Violating the implied consent laws can
often mean extremely severe penalties. These penalties make deciding whether
or not to refuse a breath or blood test a difficult decision. Of course,
if you caused an accident in which somebody else was seriously injured
or killed or in which you were knocked unconscious, you cannot refuse to test.
What are the penalties for refusing to take a test?
Once you are arrested for DWI, the officer must properly inform you that
refusing to take the test can be used as evidence against you in court
and will cause your license to be suspended for at least 180 days. Meanwhile,
if you decide to take the test and register a BAC higher than the legal
limit of 0.08 percent, your license will surely be suspended for at least 90 days.
What can I do after refusing to take the test?
If the officer has properly explained these legal circumstances to you
before you refused to take the test, the officer will confiscate your
license and you will receive a temporary permit that is valid for 41 days.
Over the next two weeks after that, you can have the suspension lifted
if you request a hearing and successfully prove one of the following issues:
- No probable cause or reasonable suspicion existed for the officer to stop
your vehicle or arrest you in the first place.
- No probable cause existed to believe that you were intoxicated during the
time you were driving on a public roadway.
- The arresting officer did not properly request that you submit to chemical
testing after placing you under arrest.
- You did not actually refuse the chemical test upon the officer’s
Do I need a Texas lawyer after refusing to take a BAC test?
By refusing to take the test, the state does not have proof that your BAC
was over 0.08 percent, but you could end up convicted with a DWI anyway.
In some cases, refusing to take the test can have more severe consequences
than being found guilty of DWI after consenting to a test. DWI has more
severe consequences than typical traffic-related charges which means that
you should not try to fight it without an experienced Texas defense attorney
by your side. Deciding the best course of action after a DWI arrest is
complicated by the fact that each case can be so unique.
If you have been
charged with DWI in Texas,
contact The Kyle Law Firm. Our
San Marcosdefense attorneys offer a free initial consultation on all
drunk driving related cases, so call today.