field sobriety test

If law enforcement accuses you of driving while under the influence, they might ask you to take a breathalyzer or chemical test. Due to implied consent laws, you do have the right to refuse a breathalyzer test. But, it will come with penalties for doing so. Implied consent, in the state of Texas, means that to get a driver’s license, you permit drug and alcohol testing. Although penalties exist, some advantages make refusing a blood or chemical test a good idea.

What Are Texas DUI Laws?

In the state of Texas, DWI means having a Blood Alcohol Concentration of .08% or more on a breathalyzer. Legally, you can refuse a test. If you do so, then you could face a longer administrative license suspension by the Department of Public Safety. The difference could be as much as 180 days versus the mandatory 90 if you choose to submit and fail.

Penalties if You Refuse a Blood or Breathalyzer Test

If you refuse a blood or breathalyzer test, it might also mean that you can face an administrative suspicion penalty of as many as two years license suspension instead of the usual one year. Additionally, in some counties, refusing a test might mean that you are not eligible for first offender programs. Some programs offer more leniency if you are found guilty of your DUI charges.

Why Would You Want to Refuse?

Although the penalties might be worse if you refuse, if you know that you are intoxicated and that you will fail a breathalyzer or chemical test, it might behoove you to refuse a test. When your case goes to court, the only evidence that a police officer will have of your intoxication is the results of a chemical test or breathalyzer, their recount of events, and a field sobriety test.

Refusal Might Create Doubt

If you refuse a blood or breathalyzer test, then you are creating an avenue of reasonable doubt. By refusing a test, the officer has nothing but their own observation and the results of a field sobriety test. Without clarity, there might be a better way to find an actionable defense over the law having clear and definitive evidence of your BAC level. If the court doesn’t have clear quantitative results, in some cases, it might be enough to build a winning defense or at least to reach a plea or sentencing bargain.

Although you give implied consent when accepted a driver’s license to submit to a chemical test or a breathalyzer, you do have the option to refuse. The penalties might be stiffer if you refuse, but if you fail, there is no way to argue in court that you were not drinking. If you are facing drug or alcohol-related DWI or DUI, you should hire a DUI/DWI professional to build a winning defense. Contact the law offices of Stephen T. Bowling today to schedule an appointment to discuss the best course of action going forward. 

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