What Happens If I Refuse a Breathalyzer or Blood Test?
If you’re caught by the police under the suspicion of DWI or driving while intoxicated, they may ask you to give a breath test sample by undergoing a breathalyzer test or submitting to a Blood test. But drivers might be apprehensive of the test and refuse it for many different reasons. Legally, you are well within your rights to refuse the test. On the other hand, you may face harsh consequences.
In Texas, if you refuse the test after getting arrested for DWI, you face a license suspension of 180 days or more. Likewise, if you have any previous DWIs, like a prior conviction, prior failed breath test, or another chemical test, you may face up to two years of license suspension.
What You Should Know About The Implied Consent Law and The Breathalyzer Test
All drivers who apply for a Texas driver’s license must agree to all the terms and conditions required for obtaining a license. This is called the implied consent law, which provides that anyone who refuses a breathalyzer test or other chemical tests is in violation of the law and will be subject to specific penalties.
However, this law only applies after you have been arrested for DWI and not before. Just because the police pull you over isn’t enough because the law requires police officers to have probable cause when making an arrest. In legal standards, probable cause has more weight than mere suspicion but has less weight than what’s needed to convict a person of DWI, which requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
When you’ve been arrested, however, the implied consent law assumes that you’ll agree to take a breath or blood test. But at the same time, the law provides that the test can’t be performed on you if you refuse it. Then again, there are certain exceptions to this rule.
After finding probable cause, the police officer can request a search warrant to have your blood taken without your consent. This can occur in most suspected DWI cases but in Denton County, almost always in the following situations:
- You had a passenger younger than 15 years old inside the vehicle when you got arrested.
- You were involved in a crash that resulted in serious injuries or death to others.
- You have a prior DWI conviction.
The bottom line – you legally refuse a breathalyzer test or blood, and law enforcement officers must respect your decision. However, you will face penalties, and they can still obtain your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) level through the proper channels. Even if you consent to the breath or blood test, your license can still be suspended for 90 days if your blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.
Talk to an Experienced Denton DWI Defense Attorney Today
Facing a DWI charge can be scary, and an experienced Denton DWI defense attorney can make all the difference to the results of your case. Getting convicted of DWI, particularly if your case involves repeat offenses or injury or death to someone else, carries extremely harsh penalties.
Reach out to the Law Office of Brent D. Bowen, PLLC, for a free initial consultation with our Denton DWI defense attorney about your DWI case and your best legal options moving forward. You can set up your appointment by reaching us online or calling our office at 940-222-2488.