How Breathalyzer Refusal Is Handled In Texas
While most people believe that refusing to take a Breathalyzer test is the same as admitting guilt, in the state of Texas it may actually be in your best interest to refuse. Under Texas law refusal can lead to an automatic driver's license suspension, but it may not be used against you during a criminal trial. One benefit of refusing the Breathalyzer test is that there is less solid evidence against you. Your DUI case will then hinge solely on the officers probable cause for pulling your over and your actions at the time, which are both very subjective. Once reasonable doubt has been introduced, your case may even be dismissed for lack of compelling evidence.
Your Rights When a Breathalyzer Test is Requested
Prior to administering a Breathalyzer test the police officer is required under Texas law to clearly inform you of the possible consequences of refusing the test--if you do refuse, you should then immediately request an attorney which ensures the police immediately cease certain procedures until your attorney is present. It is highly likely that if you refuse the Breathalyzer test in Texas you will be arrested and charged with suspicion of DUI, and your license can be suspended for 180 days. On the other hand, if you submit to a Breathalyzer test and fail, your license suspension will be for 90 days instead.
Once you are charged with DUI you have fifteen days to request a hearing before an Administrative Judge. This is generally written in small print, and quite likely you will not be informed of this requirement. This hearing is solely for the purpose of the arresting officer to explain to the Judge why he believes you were driving while intoxicated. In fact. the officer doesn't even have to physically appear in court and can simply send his arrest report stating he believes you were, in fact, operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. After your hearing you can apply for an occupational license so you will be able to drive to school or work.
Beating a DUI Charge
It is much easier, on balance, to be acquitted of DUI if the Breathalyzer test scores are not available as evidence against you, and if you are acquitted then your license will be reinstated. Without chemical proof of drunk driving the prosecution is required to make their case solely on the officer's observations, and these can be challenged in court. So, the bottom line is, if you are pulled over by a police officer and are under suspicion of DUI, and you know you will probably not pass the test--refuse. Then ask for an attorney and hire the most experienced Texas DUI attorney you can find.