Texas is one of many states that has an “implied consent” law. This means that if you’re driving in Texas you are assumed to be implicitly agreeing to a breathalyzer or blood test should a police officer have reason to administer one. If you are stopped under suspicion of DWI, Texas law requires that you take one of the tests. The arresting officer can choose which test you take. You have a right to have a blood test done by a medical professional of your choice within two hours of your arrest.
If you refuse to take the test, your license can be suspended for 180 days if this is your first offense. For a second offense, your license can be suspended for two years. The arresting officer is required to tell you and give you a notice in writing that a refusal can be used against you in court and can result in a license suspension. If you refuse the test, the officer will ask you to sign a statement saying that you were warned of the consequences of refusal. The officer will take your license and give you a temporary permit that is good for 41 days. You can request a hearing within 15 days to challenge the suspension of your license. If you do not request a hearing or if you fail to prove that the officer had no reason to believe that you were driving drunk, your license will remain suspended for 180 days.
You can petition the court for an occupational driver’s license if you have an essential need to drive. Usually, you are allowed to drive no more than four hours a day, though you may also petition for more hours.
If you refuse to take a Breathalyzer test, that could be taken by the court as evidence of your guilt. On the other hand, without a Breathalyzer there is less hard evidence to prove a DWI. The police will need to depend on their account of your actions, which could be very subjective.
Further complicating the issue is the fact that Breathalyzer tests have been shown to be very inaccurate. The machines have a margin of error that’s as high as 30%. An individual’s metabolism can also alter Breathalyzer results.
One thing there’s no question about: if you’ve been charged with a DWI, you need to talk to a lawyer. Whether you took the Breathalyzer test or refused it, you need an experienced lawyer on your team going forward. Please contact us today for more information.