Getting stopped for driving while intoxicated (DWI) can be an extremely anxiety-inducing experience, especially if you have never been accused of a traffic offense and have never faced drunk driving charges in the past. If you know you recently consumed alcohol while at a restaurant or bar, or if you are driving home from a friend’s house where you had a drink or two, you might think it is in your best interest to refuse a breathalyzer test so that the police will not have proof that you had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit. However, it is critical to understand that you can face serious consequences if you refuse a breathalyzer, and you can still be arrested for a DWI even if you never take a breathalyzer test.
When you have been stopped for a DWI, you need to think carefully before you refuse a breathalyzer test. Our experienced Houston DWI defense lawyers will explain in more detail.
Serious Consequences for Refusing a Breathalyzer
When you are stopped for a DWI on suspicion of drunk driving, the law enforcement official may ask you to take a breathalyzer test. While Texas law allows you to refuse to take a breathalyzer test, you should know that your refusal can have serious consequences. Indeed, in Texas, any driver who gets behind the wheel of an automobile has already given implied consent which means that you have agreed to submit to a breath test if the police suspect you of drunk driving.
If this is your first offense and you refuse the breathalyzer test, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended for 180 days. If you have a DWI conviction on your record, or you have previously refused to take a breathalyzer test, your driver’s license could be suspended for two years. While you might think that is a better option than the police having proof of a DWI, you should know that you can still face DWI charges even without evidence from a breath test.
You Can Face DWI Charges Even If You Refuse a Breathalyzer
Under Texas law, you can face charges for driving while intoxicated if you are intoxicated according to the law. The Texas Penal Code defines “intoxicated” to mean “having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more,” which would be determined with a breath or blood test. Yet the statute also says that “intoxicated” means “not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more substances, or any other substance into the body.”
In other words, if the police believe that you are not driving safely as a result of alcohol consumption, you ultimately could still be arrested for and charged with a DWI even if you do not submit to a breath test. Further, even if you refuse a breathalyzer, the police may be able to have your blood drawn with a warrant.
Contact Our Houston DWI Defense Lawyers
If you are facing DWI charges, you should seek advice from a DWI defense lawyer in Houston as soon as possible. Contact Tad A. Nelson, Houston DWI Lawyer today for more information about legal representation in your DWI case.