Consequences From Refusing To Blow (And The Reasons Why You Should Still Do It)
Many people wonder if they get pulled over on a DWI charge, can they refuse to blow?
Yes, that is the short answer. It is well within your rights to refuse to blow into a breathalyzer and doesn’t mean you definitely are guilty.
If you get pulled over, legally you only are required to furnish the police with your social security number, insurance details, and information on your driver’s license. Other than providing those pieces of information to the police, you should not offer anything else to the police that can be used for building a case against you and politely refuse instead. That includes answering any questions regarding whether you have been drinking or not, where you are headed, where you’ve been, and even submitting yourself to a field sobriety test.
Not only do you have the right to refuse, but you should do so.
That is the short answer. However, there is a lot more information that is involved in the complete answer. Keep reading for a detailed explanation of what your rights are if you get pulled over for a DWI in Texas.
The “No Refusal” Laws in Texas
What began as “No Refusal Weekends” in many counties, have turned into year-round policies. In those counties, when you refuse to blow it will cause the police to obtain a warrant to get a blood draw.
It is very important for you to understand that blowing into a handheld breathalyzer device is not something you are required to do, but just the desktop one that is at the police station. The evidence that the portable devices provide, in fact, is not admissible in court even.
Another thing that is noteworthy is that “No Refusal,” applies only to breathe/blood tests, but not any other types of Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. When it comes to field sobriety tests, you always should refuse to perform them.
Consequences Associated With Refusing To Blow
In counties that have a “No Refusal” policy, if you refuse to blow you will be arrested and taken to the police station to perform a forced blood draw. For the Texas counties that enforce “No Refusal” strictly, the police can call a judge at any time of the day or night to get a warrant to obtain a blood sample from you.
You should be very clear verbally that you are not consenting to a blood draw, but also be aware that if you resist the police that will just result in them holding you down and drawing your blood by force.
After you are arrested on a DWI charge, the license suspension process will be started by the police. It is automatic. However, your attorney can file an appeal, and that puts a hold on your license suspension until after the appeal hearing is held.
You should hire a lawyer as soon as you can following your arrest (they even are able to act as a bail bondsman for you) so they can begin working on your DWI charge and license suspension as soon as possible.
Why You Should Still Refuse To Blow
Despite all of the consequences that are associated with refusing to blow, we recommend that you still refuse to blow. If you perform any field sobriety tests or offer a breath/blood sample, it will give the police evidence they can be used against you. And you don’t want to help the state’s case for prosecuting you.
In addition, the handheld breathalyzer device isn’t as reliable compared to the desktop device you will be required to blow into at the police station following your arrest. If under the Texas state Implied Consent law you end up being required to provide some form of evidence to the police, you don’t want to have provided evidence coming from a source that is unreliable.
However, that also doesn’t mean the desktop breathalyzer machine is completely infallible.
Breathalyzers, contrary to popular belief, do not test to see if alcohol is present. They actually test for any chemical that contains the methyl group within its molecular structure. There are numerous chemical compounds besides alcohol that fit into this. If you are a diabetic who has low blood sugar, are a smoker, or painted a room fairly recently, then your breath sample might exercises for training at home without exercise machines come back as a false positive.
You may be saying to yourself if I know that I am sober, then it is okay to blow, right? Not necessarily. Depending on what your circumstances are (along with the police officer who stopped you) you may be charged with a DWI still even if you are able to blow under the legal limit.
Even when your blood sample tests over what the legal limit is, there are still ways of defending against the results of your blood alcohol test. There are certain regulations and results that have to be followed for calibrating the machine, testing your sample, and storing your sample.
Although refusing to blow might result in having to perform a forced blood draw and your license being suspended, we still recommend that you refuse to blow and also make it very clear you are not consenting to perform a forced blood draw.
Although “No Refusal” may be the way of life in many counties, there still are some counties where these policies are not implemented. Providing a blood or breath sample might seem like you are cooperating with the police. However, it just provides them with even more evidence that can be used against you a court of law.