The Pros and Cons of Refusing a Breathalyzer Test in Houston, TX

14 Aug 2023
Greco Neyland, PC

When it becomes clear that HPD or Texas State Police suspect you of drunk driving, you must make many crucial decisions quickly to preserve your best chance of protecting your freedom.

One of those decisions is whether you will take the breathalyzer test.

In the state of Texas, you have a legal right to refuse a breathalyzer test, but that doesn’t mean you should.

An Implied Consent State

While you have the legal right to refuse a breathalyzer test before an arrest, there are consequences. This is because Texas is an implied consent state. The act of getting a driver’s license and driving on the road implies your consent to this form of testing.

Plus, there are some circumstances under which police may compel you to take a test whether you consent or not.

  • You have a previous conviction for a DWI with a minor child in the vehicle.
  • You have a previous DWI, and someone was injured or killed as a result.
  • You have two previous DWI convictions.
  • You have one previous intoxication assault or manslaughter conviction.

Assuming you are not compelled, your license will be suspended for 180 days. If this would be your second or third DWI offense, your license will be suspended for two years. You may request a hearing within 15 days to protest the license suspension.

Police may also arrest you on the spot, at which point they can force you to take a blood or breathalyzer test.

In many cases, it will be wiser to take the test. Yes, you may give the police evidence to use against you later. Nevertheless, breathalyzer tests are notoriously inaccurate. Your lawyer can often shred the test results in court later. You’ll also look better in front of a jury. Juries typically view a refusal to take the test as an admission of guilt.

Sometimes, Arrests Happen

Often, you can do nothing to prevent an arrest, especially at a traffic stop. If the police have reason to believe they need to take you in, they will do that.

Your focus should never be on talking your way out of an arrest or gaming your way out of an arrest. You should be laser-focused on avoiding a conviction. Take the test, but invoke your rights to remain silent and your right to an attorney. Don’t argue with officers, don’t plead with officers, don’t try to prove your innocence with officers. All those actions ever do is dig your hole so much deeper.

If you’ve been arrested for a DWI or are facing a license suspension for a failed breathalyzer test, don’t delay. Call our office to get help today.

See also:

Intoxication Offenses

Aggravated DWI

Breath Testing

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