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Understanding the Lone Star State’s implied consent law

On Behalf of | Aug 19, 2021 | DWI

For most residents of the Lone Star State, there is nothing wrong with consuming alcoholic beverages from time to time. If you drink away from your home, though, you must keep a close eye on your blood alcohol concentration. After all, if you drive with a BAC over Texas’s 0.08% legal limit, you may find yourself in handcuffs.

Before stopping your vehicle, officers typically must have reasonable suspicion you are driving drunk or violating some other law. To confirm this suspicion, an officer may ask you to breathe into a BAC testing device.

Implied consent

Naturally, you have the option of choosing not to drive in Texas. When you decide to drive on the state’s roadways, you automatically give your implied consent for chemical testing. This means officers have the legal authority to request a breath, blood or urine sample from you without first obtaining a warrant.

Your options

If officers suspect you may be driving while intoxicated and request a breath sample, you may have a couple of options. First, you can provide the breath sample. If the sample reveals your BAC is too high, officers are likely to arrest you.

You also have the option of refusing to breathe into the testing device. While doing so may deprive officers of the evidence they need to charge you for driving while impaired, you are likely to lose your driving privileges for up to 180 days.

Even though officers may have other evidence of your intoxication, refusing to provide a breath sample may be in your legal interests. Ultimately, a driver’s license suspension may be better than the stiff criminal penalties that often accompany even a first-time DWI conviction.