In a perfect world, drinking and driving would not be an issue. However, despite being a proud and wonderful place, Texas is not a perfect world, nor any other state in the union. The reality of the matter is that good people often make foolish errors and find themselves on the wrong side of a traffic stop.
If you find yourself pulled over and you know that you probably won’t pass a breathalyzer test, you might think that simply refusing to take the test is a good idea. In reality, “should I take a breathalyzer test?” is not a simple yes or no question.
It is always wise to have an established relationship with a defense attorney before these matters come up. If you don’t have such an established relationship, you can consult with an attorney in your area and take a few business cards. Ideally, you’ll never need to use them, but when you do suddenly need an attorney, it is a great relief to know whom to call.
Consequences of refusing a breathalyzer test in Texas
If you refuse to take a breathalyzer, you should have a good reason for doing so. The penalties are not terrible, but are nothing to take lightly.
If it is your first offense, a breath-test refusal results in your license suspended for 180 days. For second or third offenses, breath-test refusal results in a license suspension of two years.
In contrast, a first time DUI or DWI conviction sometimes carries lower penalties, but does leave a conviction on your record and usually involves some form of jail time or significant fine.
Furthermore, it is not wise to assume that refusing a breath test will thwart the prosecution from securing a conviction in your charges. In some cases, the prosecution may argue successfully that you refused to take the test because you were inebriated. While this may not sound fair, it is not unheard of.
Know whom to call after a DUI stop
Just because you got stopped while driving after a few drinks does not make you a bad person, nor does it have to ruin your life. The wisest thing to do in these circumstances is to remain calm and give the officer as little information as possible while still keeping the situation amicable.
As soon as you can, you should call an attorney to come represent you and be present if you face questioning. This is far easier if you already have an attorney you know to contact, like we mentioned earlier.
If you choose to refuse a breathalyzer test, you should do so with professional legal counsel near at hand. The more guidance you have in this difficult season, the more likely you are to emerge on the other side with acceptable consequences.