Can I Refuse to Take a Chemical Test After a DWI Arrest?
After being arrested for DWI in Texas, drivers must decide whether or not to take a breath or blood chemical test to determine their blood alcohol content (BAC). However, refusing to submit to chemical tests has severe consequences under the state “implied consent” law.
According to Texas implied consent law, all motorists lawfully arrested for drunk driving must submit to chemical testing. For an arrest to be considered lawful, the officer who stops the person must have probable cause to believe he/she has been driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Keep in mind, law enforcement is cannot force drivers to submit to testing. If they choose not to take a breath or blood test, they will face penalties, but police must respect their decision. However, if the arrest involved an accident that caused serious injury or death, or if the suspect has a prior conviction of certain offenses, BAC testing is mandatory.
Consequences of refusing to take the tests include:
- First offense - License suspension for 180 days
- Second offense (within 10 years of a previous DWI arrest) - License suspension for two years
It is important to remember that the implied consent law doesn’t apply to chemical testing before a lawful arrest is made. Police generally request a voluntary “preliminary alcohol screening” (PAS) test--often in the form of a breathalyzer--to establish probable cause.
If you refused a chemical BAC test when arrested for DWI, you should seek immediate legal representation from a skilled criminal defense attorney. At The Clark Law Firm, our Fort Worth DWI lawyer can evaluate your case and determine the best way to fight your charges and perhaps reduce your penalties.
For more information, contact us and schedule a complimentary consultation today.