After a night out at the bars on Route 66, you get in your car to drive home. Before you’ve driven more than a mile, you see the flashing lights of a police car behind you. The officer pulls you over and, after asking you to take field sobriety tests, arrests you on suspicion of a DWI. When you get to the station, the arresting officer asks you to blow into a machine to measure your blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
At this point, you may wonder if you should blow into the machine or not. You may think you can avoid a DWI by refusing. But in Texas, implied consent laws mean you can face penalties for refusing a breath or blood test.
You already gave consent to a test
In Texas, anyone driving on public roads automatically gives consent to a breath or blood test. If the police have probable cause to believe someone is driving while intoxicated, they can arrest that person and require a test to measure BAC.
If you refuse, the police suspend your license for six months. This suspension stays in place regardless of the outcome of your DWI trial. Police can also submit your refusal as evidence, and a court may consider it an admission of guilt.
Depending on your situation, a refusal may help you fight DWI charges
While a refusal can lead to harsh consequences, your decision to consent to a breath test or not depends on your specific situation. If the officer didn’t have probable cause to arrest you or didn’t follow proper procedure, you might be able to have charges dropped. But if you take the test and are at or over the legal limit, you will have a harder time fighting charges.
However, even with a refusal, you can still receive a DWI conviction. Before you refuse, make sure you understand Texas’ implied consent laws.