Refusing a DWI Test and Implied Consent in Texas

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If I am Arrested for DWI in Texas, am I Required to Take a Chemical Test?

Technically, no. If you are arrested and charged with a DWI, you may choose not to take a breath or blood BAC (blood alcohol content) test. However, a refusal to do so will have serious consequences due to Texas' implied consent laws.

What is Implied Consent?

Texas' implied consent law states that if a person is arrested for an offense arising out of acts alleged to have been committed while the person was operating a motor vehicle in a public place, the person is deemed to have consented to submit to the taking of one or more specimens of the person's breath or blood for analysis to determine the alcohol concentration in the persons body.  Thus, by driving in Texas, you have consented to a chemical test.

What are the Penalties for Refusing to Take a Breath or Blood Test After Being Arrested for DWI?

If you are lawfully arrested for a DWI and refuse to submit to a BAC test in Texas, you will be subjected to an administrative penalty. The penalty for refusing to take a BAC test is in addition to the standard penalties for DWI.  Even if you are acquitted of DWI charges, you will still face these administrative penalties:

However, if your license is administratively suspended for refusing to take a BAC test, you can apply for an occupational license that may allow you to drive to and from work, and to perform essential household duties.  

Should I Take a BAC Test?

Deciding whether or not to take a BAC test is a personal choice.  If you refuse, you face stiff penalties.  However, many criminal defense attorneys in Texas recommend refusing to take the test unless you are sure that your BAC level is below the legal limit..  This is a risk.  You may be able to avoid a DWI conviction by refusing a test because there is no evidence of the amount of alcohol in your system.  The administrative penalty for BAC test refusals is less than the penalty for DWI convictions, especially considering the availability of occupational licenses.  However, if you refuse to submit to a BAC test, you may still be found guilty of DWI and will be assessed further penalties due to your refusal.  

Do I Need a Texas Lawyer if I Have Been Charged With a BAC Test Refusal?

DWI arrests are serious and can have severe consequences. If you refused a chemical BAC test when arrested, you need to contact a criminal defense attorney who specializes in DWI defense immediately. Your attorney will be able to help you fight any charges and may be able to help you reduce your penalties.

For more local legal information, please see these pages:
Texas Lawyers

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Last Modified: 07-23-2010 04:26 PM PDT

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