To some people, it seems counter intuitive to take a test–such as a breathalyzer or blood test–that can be used by the police as evidence that you were driving while intoxicated (DWI); however, Texas imposes harsh penalties on those who refuse to take the breathalyzer. If you were recently charged with drunk driving and a breathalyzer refusal, it is important to work with a defense attorney who can appeal your administrative driver’s license suspension and fight your criminal case.
Under Texas’s Implied Consent law, all licensed drivers who are traveling on public roadways imply their consent to submit to a chemical test if arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. When the arresting officer asks you to take the breathalyzer, he or she is supposed to inform you of the Implied Consent warning, which explains the law as well as the penalties for refusing to take the test.
After a breath test refusal, the officer can confiscate your license and provide you with paperwork that informs you of the administrative license suspension and acts as your temporary driving permit for 40 days. Please keep in mind that your license may be automatically suspended even before you go to court to face your criminal charges. In order to fight this suspension, you must submit a hearing request to the Department of Public Safety within 15 days of your arrest.
If you do not file an appeal, your license will be suspended. For a first offense, the administrative license suspension is for 180 days. This is increased to two-years for a second breathalyzer refusal within 10 years.
In addition to the suspension penalties, your breathalyzer refusal can also hurt you in court. The prosecutor may argue that you refused the test, knowing that you were intoxicated and that the results would show you were over the legal limit. However, if the officer failed to read the Implied Consent warning, there is a chance that your defense lawyer could challenge the prosecution’s assertion.
As a dedicated DWI defense attorney, Ken Gibson has helped a number of clients successfully challenge their breathalyzer refusals so they could retain their driving privileges and avoid a criminal conviction. To learn how he can help you at this critical time, please contact our law office now to set up an appointment for a no-cost case evaluation.