Do I Automatically Lose My License If I Don’t Take a Breathalyzer Test in Texas?
Law enforcement officers who stop a motorist for suspicion of drunk driving may request a breathalyzer test of the individual. If the officer has probable cause, he or she may arrest the driver and then require him or her to take a breathalyzer test. If the person refuses to take this test, he or she may face serious consequences.
Implied consent law
Texas’ implied consent law states that if a person is arrested by a law enforcement officer who has probable cause to believe that the driver was drinking and driving, he or she automatically consents to one or more chemical tests that are designed to measure his or her blood alcohol content. Under this law, a person consents to take this test under these circumstances as a condition of driving on Texas roadways. This consent includes a breathalyzer test as well as to draw a blood sample.
Possible penalties for refusing to take a breathalyzer test
If you refuse to take a breathalyzer test in violation of the implied consent law, you may face serious penalties. If it is your first offense, you face license suspension for 180 days. If it is your second or subsequent offense within the last ten years of a DWI arrest , you face a suspension of your driving privileges for up to two years.
These penalties are significant and should not be ignored. However, they are not as strict as the penalties for a DWI conviction, so you should consider talking to a skilled DUI defense lawyer about whether or not you should refuse a breathalyzer test.
If your license is suspended, you may still be able to retain some important driving privileges. An occupational license may allow a person to drive to and from work, as well as drive for other essential functions.
There may be some legal defenses that may apply to justify a refusal to take a breathalyzer test. For example, the implied consent law only applies if the law enforcement officer had probable cause to arrest the driver. If there was no indication that the driver was impaired, the officer may not have had the requisite probable cause to arrest the person and a refusal may be justified under the circumstances.
Additionally, the implied consent law only applies to post-arrest testing. You do not have to agree to be tested before a lawful arrest. Law enforcement may ask you to take a preliminary alcohol screening that is administered via a handheld breath test device. However, this is not the same thing as a breathalyzer test administered after an arrest, so you may choose not to voluntarily take it without being afoul of the implied consent law.
Contact our knowledgeable Fort Worth DUI defense lawyers today
At the Law Office of Kyle Whitaker , our Fort Worth DUI defense lawyers are knowledgeable about the rules pertaining to DUI stops and breathalyzer tests. We are dedicated to defending your rights and keeping your driving privileges. We examine the circumstances surrounding your case to determine the best legal defenses how to strategically approach an administrative hearing regarding your driving privileges. Contact our Fort Worth office online or call (817) 332-7703.