When you are under arrest for DWI in Texas, the officer will likely ask you to provide a breath sample to measure alcohol concentration.
If the police ask you to take a breath test, you may believe it is in your best interest to refuse. However, due to Texas’ implied consent law, this is not always the case.
When does implied consent apply?
Texas has an implied consent law for breath tests. If you are under arrest for DWI, the law considers you to have consented to the test.
Implied consent applies when you are under arrest. If the police have not arrested you for DWI, you can legally refuse a breath test. However, if the police suspect that you are intoxicated, they can arrest you and require you to take a breath test.
After your arrest, before the police ask you to take a breath test, they must inform you both verbally and in writing of what can happen if you refuse the test.
Will you lose your license?
If you refuse a breath test after your DWI arrest, you will generally lose your license for at least 180 days. You have 15 days to request a hearing to appeal the suspension. Otherwise, this administrative license revocation remains in place even if your arrest does not result in a conviction.
Can the prosecutor use your refusal against you?
It is not uncommon for people under arrest for DWI to refuse a breath test because believe that it will show evidence of intoxication. However, refusal is admissible as evidence in a DWI case, so refusing the test will not necessarily avoid a conviction.
When facing a DWI charge, it is important to understand what rights and responsibilities you have under Texas law.