DWI in Texas & the 5th Amendment
When it comes to getting a DWI in Texas, the Department of Motor Vehicles, Department of Transportation, Department of Public Safety, and distinguished Law Enforcement personnel would all very much like you to believe that you are required to take a breathalyzer test during this type of traffic stop. They often bully people into thinking there is no other option.
Ask any DWI Lawyer, however, and you will quickly learn that this is not only false, but in direct conflict with your 5th Amendment Right to not ‘be a witness against’ or give evidence against yourself. When the officer reads you your Miranda rights and tells you that you have the right to remain silent, that applies 100% to the breathalyzer test, balance test, walk-the-line, and any other test they throw at you for a DWI in Texas. You have the right to remain silent. Exercise your right. Don’t give evidence against yourself.
The End of Implied Consent
In 2014 the Texas Supreme Court ruled against ‘Implied Consent’, which previously required all drivers to comply with field sobriety tests. What this means for you is that you have the legal right to choose NOT perform the breathalyzer test. This right is waived, however, for anyone who is unconscious, dead or if someone was critically injured by the vehicle you were driving.
What to Do When Stopped for a DWI
If the officer requires you to perform any sort of field sobriety test, whether breathalyzer or physical exercise, you must politely request that you would like for your attorney to be present. Even if the officer says you do not have the right for an attorney to be present, stand your ground and repeat your request for a DWI Lawyer.
If they get really nasty, say nothing more except that you have the right to remain silent. No matter how much of an inconvenience you are making for the officer, I guarantee that giving evidence against yourself will be far more inconvenient for you in the long term.
Pros of Sobriety Test Refusal
If you refuse, the state does not have any proof that your Blood Alcohol Level (BAC) was above .08%
Cons of Refusal
Naturally, the state will do their best to use your silence as evidence against you for a DWI in Texas. This is entirely legal, but far less incriminating than a potentially positive breath test. Additionally, when you refuse, your license will be suspended for a minimum of 180 days (more if not your first offense).
As I said in the beginning, everyone wants you to believe that you a required to blow into the breathalyzer. And as you can see for yourself, there are even penalties for not complying.
Why You Need a Skilled DWI Lawyer
You have up to fifteen days to request a hearing to challenge your license suspension for not complying with the field sobriety tests. With help of a skilled DUI lawyer, however, you actually stand a better chance of getting your license back and winning your case, than if you had undergone the breathalyzer and given evidence against yourself.
If you’ve been stopped for a DWI or DWI in Texas, whether you took the test or not, please don’t waste any time, call today for a free consultation.