Can I Refuse a Breath or Blood Test in Texas?

Do you know your rights if you are pulled over on suspicion of driving while intoxicated in Texas? In many cases, the law enforcement officer will run a series of sobriety tests, such as the walk-and-turn. He or she may also ask you to submit to a breath or blood test to determine your blood alcohol concentration.

Under the state’s implied consent law, as a licensed driver, you inherently agree to taking either a breath or a blood test if you have been arrested on DWI charges. To make the arrest, the law enforcement officer must have reasonable ground to believe that you were driving while drunk or are otherwise in violation of the state’s alcoholic beverage code. The statute notes that the test must be performed as soon as possible, but you do have the right to take a blood test by a medical professional of your choice as long as you do so within two hours of the arrest.

You should know that you do have the right to refuse to take a test, though it comes with consequences. According to the law, the following penalties may be assessed for refusing either test:

  • First offense: License suspension of 180 days
  • Second offense: Two-year license suspension
  • Third offense: Two-year license suspension

Last year, the Texas Court of Appeals ruled that law enforcement officers must obtain a search warrant in order to force a driver to take a blood test. Therefore, you could refuse a test, but it is possible that you will still have to take one.

While this information may be useful, it should not be taken as legal advice.


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