What Happens if I Refuse a Breathalyzer During a DWI Stop?

When a police officer pulls over a suspect and suspects that they’ve consumed alcohol prior to getting behind the wheel, they may request that the suspect submit to a blood or breath alcohol test. These tests are used to check for the amount of alcohol in a person’s blood—if the results show a level of .08 or above, the person could be arrested on driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges.

Without this evidence, the prosecution may have a hard time proving that the defendant was indeed intoxicated and in violation of the law. Here’s what you should know about your right to refuse a breathalyzer test if requested to do so. If you have more questions, reach out to our Houston DWI lawyer directly today.

Do I Have to Submit to a Blood or Breath Alcohol Test?

If you are stopped by police and asked to submit to a blood or breath alcohol test, you do not have to consent, but you can face consequences for your failure to consent. Under the law, you have offered your “implied consent” at the time that you received your driver’s license. This means that merely by driving, you’ve implied that you do indeed consent to blood or breath testing. While officers may not be able to actually force you to consent, you could be penalized for your refusal.

Penalties for Violation of Implied Consent Laws

If you do not submit to a blood or breath alcohol test, you will face automatic consequences. If you refuse to consent to testing, you will face an automatic license suspension of 180 days, regardless of whether or not you are actually arrested for, charged with, or convicted of driving while intoxicated.

Are There Any Advantages to Refusing a Breathalyzer Test?

If you do not submit to a breathalyzer test, then you will face an automatic license suspension. However, the police will also not have evidence of your blood alcohol level as a result of your refusal, which may make it harder to convict you of charges.

It’s important to remember, however, that regardless of breathalyzer results, police may still arrest you based on other evidence of intoxication, such as erratic driving behaviors, the smell of alcohol, slurring of speech, failure of a field sobriety test, etc. This evidence could be compelling enough to secure a conviction in some cases.

Get Help from a Houston DWI Lawyer

If you have been arrested for a DWI or have questions about refusing a breathalyzer and breaching the state’s implied consent law, you should consult with a Houston drunk driving attorney. At The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates, our Houston DWI attorney will work with you to build your case, develop your defense, and advocate for you.

Facing DWI charges is scary, and could mean serious penalties if you’re convicted. Call us at 713-489-7373 today to learn more about your legal rights and options when facing charges.