Criminal Defense and Title IX
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Can You Refuse to Take a Breathalyzer in Texas?

Our DWI lawyers explain what happens if you say no to a BAC test

If you are arrested for drunk driving in Texas, you are obligated by the state's “implied consent” law to take a breathalyzer or chemical test that checks your BAC. Technically, you can still refuse to take the test. But there will likely be consequences.

Whether a driver refuses a breath or blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test, our experienced Austin DWI defense attorneys can help. If you were arrested in Austin, Travis County, or another Central Texas community, contact Botsford & Roark for a free case evaluation. We can listen to the details of your case, answer questions, and help you decide what to do next.

Implied consent in Texas

According to Texas law, you must submit to testing after an arrest or enhanced circumstances. In general, for a BAC test to be legal, one or more of the following conditions must apply:

  • An officer reasonably suspects a driver of operating a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated and has made an arrest.
  • Alcohol or drugs are suspected factors in a car accident resulting in serious injuries or death.
  • The suspected drunk driver was convicted or placed on community supervision for one or two previous DWI-related offenses.

What the law says

Specifically, Texas’ implied consent law says that:

“If a person is arrested for an offense arising out of acts alleged to have been committed while the person was operating a motor vehicle in a public place, or a watercraft, while intoxicated … the person is deemed to have consented to submit to the taking of one or more specimens of the person’s breath or blood for analysis to determine the alcohol concentration or the presence in the person’s body of a controlled substance, drug, dangerous drug, or other substance.”

The law also requires officers to explain a few things about BAC tests and implied consent before requesting a specimen. Among other things, officers have a duty to explain that:

  • Refusal means an automatic driver's license suspension.
  • You have a right to challenge your driver's license suspension.
  • That if you refuse, the officer may seek a warrant to have a specimen taken from you.
  • Explain that refusal to take the test may be used by prosecution against you.

What happens if you say no to a breathalyzer in Texas?

Whether it’s an out-of-state or Texas driver’s license, all drivers face repercussions for refusing a BAC test after an arrest. Consequences for refusing to provide a BAC specimen may include:

  • Longer driver’s license suspension.
  • Prosecution may present the refusal as a sign of guilt.

No matter the circumstances of your DWI, the attorneys at Botsford & Roark can help.

Contact Botsford & Roark if you’ve been charged with DWI in Central Texas

Breathalyzer, as well as other types of BAC tests, are far from perfect. So-called breath tests provide an indirect measurement of a driver’s blood alcohol concentration, and any number of factors may create a false reading. Yet, Texas, and many other states, rely on these tests to determine drunk driving charges and convictions.

If you took a BAC test, passed, or failed it, our experienced Austin DWI defense lawyers can investigate what happened and build a strong defense for you. Our law firm was founded in 2007. We have the knowledge, connections, and resources to get results in Central Texas. If you have been charged with DWI, contact us now for a free and confidential case evaluation.

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