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Can Police Force Me to Take a Breath or Blood Alcohol Test in Texas?

 Posted on April 13, 2021 in DWI

TX DWI lawyerIn Texas, a driver can be arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) for having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or greater. To determine whether a driver’s BAC exceeds the legal limit, police officers may conduct a field sobriety test or a breath alcohol test such as a breathalyzer. Many Texas drivers have questions about their legal rights during a traffic stop. You may have wondered, “Do I have to take a breathalyzer test?” or “What happens if I refuse a chemical BAC test?”

Preliminary Roadside BAC Tests

The majority of DWI arrests begin with one of two scenarios. The first occurs when a police officer notices that a driver is drifting between lanes, turning with an unusually wide radius, weaving in and out of traffic, or otherwise shows signs of intoxicated driving. The second scenario occurs when an officer pulls a driver over for an offense like speeding or a broken taillight and then notices signs of intoxication such as the smell of alcohol on the driver’s breath.

In either of these scenarios, the officer may ask the driver to take a roadside breathalyzer test. Preliminary breath tests are designed more for portability than for accuracy. Consequently, the results of a roadside breath test are not usually admissible in court as evidence of drunk driving.

You do have the right to refuse a roadside breathalyzer. However, this does not prevent the officer from arresting you on suspicion of drunk driving. Once you have been arrested and taken to the police station, you will be asked to take a post-arrest BAC test.

“Implied Consent” and Post-Arrest Chemical BAC Testing

Once you have been arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, you are required to submit to a blood or breath alcohol test. If you refuse chemical BAC testing after your arrest, the police may obtain a warrant to test you without your consent. Refusing a post-arrest BAC test also results in an automatic driver’s license suspension per the Texas “implied consent” law.

The good news is that it is possible to avoid a conviction for drunk driving even if you fail a roadside or post-arrest BAC test. Incorrect administration of breath or blood tests, faulty or uncalibrated testing equipment, and other issues can invalidate the results of a chemical BAC test.

Contact a Collin County DWI Defense Lawyer

The skilled Frisco criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Biederman & Burleson P.L.L.C. help clients defend themselves against DWI charges. We have helped over 500 clients avoid a criminal conviction for DWI – including more than 100 clients with failed BAC tests. If you have been arrested for driving under the influence, call 469-333-3333 for a free, confidential consultation to learn how we can help you.




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