Being pulled over on the suspicion of driving while impaired (DWI) can be an unsettling experience. Even if you are not intoxicated, the mere idea of being charged and convicted of such a crime is stressful.
At the time that you are pulled over, you may have many questions about what your rights and obligations are, including whether or not you have the right to refuse a breath or blood test. Here is what you need to know:
Refusing a blood or breath alcohol test is within your legal right. If you are asked to submit to breath testing at the time you are pulled over, or blood testing at a later point, you have the legal right to say no. However, while you have the right to say no, and doing so may protect you against a DUI/DWI conviction as the prosecution will not have absolute proof of an illegal blood alcohol concentration (BAC), there are consequences.
Under Texas law (Chapter 724 of the Transportation Code), a person is “deemed to have consented” to blood or breath testing if suspected of operating under the influence by virtue of possessing a driver’s license. This means that if you refuse to consent to testing, you are breaching the state’s implied consent law.
A breach of implied consent has an immediate consequence – a 180-day license suspension. A second refusal within a 10-year time period can result in a two-year license suspension.
Keep in mind that even if you legally exercise your right to refusal, it is possible for an officer to apply for a warrant that authorizes the taking of a specimen.
Many of our clients ask us whether or not it is a wise idea to refuse to give a sample of blood or breath for alcohol content testing. The answer is that it depends. Refusal to provide a breath or blood sample may mean that the prosecution does not have enough evidence against you to result in a conviction. However, the prosecution does not necessarily have to have proof of a BAC of .08% or above in order to secure a conviction; rather, they only need to prove that the person was intoxicated or impaired, regardless of BAC.
If you are charged with a DWI/DUI crime in Texas, regardless of whether you have submitted to blood and breath alcohol testing, you need to call an experienced Texas DUI lawyer immediately. Your attorney will be essential in protecting your legal rights throughout the criminal process, helping you to understand the charges against you, and guiding you through your legal options. Your attorney will assess the evidence the prosecution has against you and advise you regarding your best options, from pleading innocent and fighting the charges to pleading guilty and reaching a plea deal with the prosecution.
For a consultation with our aggressive Texas DWI lawyers at the offices of Scott M. Brown & Associates, please call us directly today or request an appointment by sending us a message. We get results you can trust.