Will refusing a breath test help you avoid a Texas DWI charge?

Will refusing a breath test help you avoid a Texas DWI charge?

| Jun 21, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

Drivers get arrested for driving while under the influence (DWI) every day in Texas. Unlike other common crimes, DWI offenses often don’t involve direct harm to others.

Most of the time, drivers arrested for impaired driving didn’t cause any property damage or injury to anyone else. They just got pulled over by police because their tire grazed the centerline or they swerved to miss an animal in the road, making them look like an erratic driver.

If an officer notices questionable driving tactics, they may initiate a traffic stop and then possibly arrest the driver. An officer will first ask questions. Then, they may ask for a field sobriety test, possibly followed by a chemical breath test. Can refusing a chemical breath test help you prevent getting arrested for a DWI?

Refusing a chemical test is a separate offense on its own

If your answers to the questions an officer asks you or your performance on the field sobriety test makes them think you are drunk, they can ask you to take a chemical test. You can refuse to take the test, but you break state law by doing so.

The officer can’t force you to take the test, but they can arrest you for your refusal. By saying no to testing, you have broken the state’s implied consent law that says every driver agrees to chemical sobriety testing. After your arrest, you will lose your license for 180 days for not taking the test. If you refused another test in the last ten years, you will lose your license for two years, possibly longer.

Not taking the test won’t protect you from DWI charges

If you already admitted to having a drink earlier in the evening or if you performed poorly on the field sobriety test, the officer can still arrest you for a DWI even without a chemical breath test.

In some cases, they may be able to get a warrant for chemical testing. Even if they don’t, there could already be enough evidence to bring DWI charges against you.

Knowing how traffic laws affect your rights can help you avoid making mistakes that could complicate your situation.