Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious offense in the state of Texas. If you are charged and convicted, you will pay a heavy price for the offense. And besides the legal consequences, you will have to deal with the collateral consequences of your conviction.
One of the decisions you will have to make when stopped for a DWI check is whether to take the breathalyzer test or not. Of course, you can refuse the breathalyzer test – but you need to acknowledge that there will be consequences.
Texas is an implied consent state
Contrary to belief, driving is a privilege in Texas, just as it is in other states. Meaning that by signing up for a driver’s license, you basically agree to certain terms and conditions. One of these is that you shall yield to a chemical test during a DWI stop should law enforcement require you to do so as part of the investigation. This is known as implied consent.
Refusing to yield to a duly-requested breathalyzer test can lead to the following consequences.
The suspension of your driver’s license
Your driver’s license will be automatically suspended for 180 days if you refuse to yield to the breathalyzer test. A second refusal will lead to a 2-year suspension of your driver’s license.
You will still face proper testing
If you refuse the breathalyzer test, the law enforcement officer will explain the consequences, arrest and take you to the station for more tests. You may go ahead and refuse these tests too, but this will not let you off the hook. The court might interpret your refusal as an admission of guilt and rely on the prosecution’s story to convict you.
The decision to refuse a breathalyzer test or not is a personal one. That said, if you are charged with drunk driving, it helps to understand your legal options.