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What Happens If I Refuse the Breathalyzer During a DWI Arrest?

Posted on in DWI

frisco DWI defense lawyerWhen a police officer believes you are driving while intoxicated, they will work through a process to build the strongest possible case against you. This process involves asking a series of questions about your whereabouts and recent alcohol consumption, they will request that you participate in a series of field sobriety tests, and finally, they will request that you submit to chemical testing. To say this a different way, building the strongest possible DWI case requires your compliance. You may wonder how you should respond to the officer’s requests.

Implied Consent

All 50 states have implied consent laws, which means that when you get your driver’s license, you inherently agree to submit to chemical tests if an officer believes you are under the influence of an intoxicant while driving a vehicle. The legal concept of implied consent does not apply to answering questions or field sobriety tests. Yet, it does apply to the breathalyzer, the device in which you blow into and then uses your breath to measure your blood-alcohol concentration (BAC). 

What makes implied consent confusing is that you might only hear about it after you have been arrested for DWI. Even though you don’t technically have a choice, it is still presented as optional. So, you might be wondering why you would help the officer find incriminating evidence against you? 

The Gamble of Refusing a Breathalyzer 

Police and prosecutors will try to use every bit of evidence against you in a DWI case, but the only undisputed, scientific evidence of your level of intoxication is your BAC. Additionally, a 2009 study found that refusing to take a blood-alcohol test “significantly compromises the arrest, prosecution, and sentencing” of DWI suspects. Before you refuse, though, you should understand the consequences.

In Texas, there are immediate consequences for refusing a chemical test after being arrested for DWI. First, if the officer does seek criminal charges against you, the refusal can be used against you in court. If it is your first DWI, the court can suspend your license for 180 days. For those with multiple DWI convictions, the court could suspend your license for up to two years. 

Call a Collin County DWI Defense Lawyer 

If you have been arrested for a DWI offense, contact a Frisco DWI attorney at the Law Offices of Biederman & Burleson P.L.L.C. for help. Our attorneys have certified DWI training and we can help you build a strong defense. Call 469-333-3333 for a free consultation today.

 

Sources: 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2760408/

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/TN/htm/TN.724.htm

 

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