Getting pulled over by a police officer can be a traumatic experience under any circumstances. Getting pulled over when the officer suspects you of driving under the influence can be even more overwhelming. The officer may even ask you to submit to a Breathalyzer test, knowing that if the test shows that your blood alcohol concentration is above the legal limit, he or she will have enough probable cause to arrest you for a DUI.
Many drivers are unaware that they have the option to refuse to submit to a Breathalyzer test. While there are consequences to doing so, refusing a breath test may be in your best interest.
Implied consent laws
In all 50 states, licensed drivers implicitly consent to Breath or chemical tests just by having a license. If you refuse to submit to a test in Texas, your license will be suspended for 180 days if it is your first refusal. If you have a prior DWI on your record, or a prior refusal, your license could be suspended for two years.
What is the advantage refusing a breath test?
Generally, breath test results make it easier for an officer to arrest you on DUI charges and are often the best evidence a prosecutor has to get a driver convicted. While a refusal does not necessarily prevent a DUI conviction, it does make the prosecutor’s job much harder. The prosecutor will have to use other evidence, including officer observations and field sobriety test results (if you agreed to take those tests) to build their case against you.
What happens if I already submitted to a breath test?
If you already submitted to a breath test, don’t despair. The arresting officer may have made critical errors when administering the test or failed to calibrate the testing device properly, resulting in an inaccurate reading. Your attorney will review your results and consult with experts to determine whether your breath test readings were legitimate.