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The Breathalyzer, a standard test for suspected drunk driving

There are several sobriety tests that law enforcement officers in Texas may utilize in order to check drivers for possible impairment. The Breathalyzer is a pretty standard test that is used for suspected drunk driving. When asked to perform this test, must one comply?

There is actually quite a bit of confusion regarding this topic. For one, implied consent laws, which drivers agree to upon obtaining their driver's licenses, and state license holders agree to participate in sobriety testing if it is asked of them. However, people have their rights and, without a warrant in hand, police officers cannot force anyone to provide a breath sample. So, must one comply? Yes, but at the same time no.

Not giving a breath sample may have some consequences. Not only will one likely face a DUI charge anyway, but a person may also lose his or her driving privileges -- at least temporarily. Breath test refusal tends to result in an automatic license suspension. Why would a person refuse then?

Breathalyzer tests are not fool-proof. Human error can result in faulty readings which can, in turn, really hurt one's case. While it may be possible to prove that an issue with a Breathalyzer machine resulted in a high alcohol content readout, there are no guarantees that this approach will work. So, refusing a breath test may actually prove helpful to one's case, despite the consequences for doing so. Whether a person in Texas who is suspected of drunk driving refuses or submits to a Breathalyzer test, an experienced criminal defense attorney can assist one in fighting his or her case.

Source: FindLaw, "Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?", Accessed on Sept. 18, 2017

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John M. Petruzzi, Attorney at Law
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