The Consequences of Refusing a Blood or Breath Test When Pulled Over Under Suspicion Of Driving Under the Influence in Texas

There is confusion around the consequences of refusing to submit to a blood or breath test when pulled over for suspected drunk driving by a law enforcement officer in the state of Texas. This is, in part, because of the legal doctrine of implied consent. In Texas, if you are lawfully arrested by an officer possessing probable cause that you have been driving while intoxicated, then you impliedly consent to having your blood and/or breath tested to determine the alcohol concentration present in your system, regardless of whether or not you actually consent. Implied consent, in other words, is a legal fiction that facilitates accurate testing of what, in the absence of scientific testing, would sometimes be a troublesomely subjective condition. This subjective state is intoxication. The road to, and features of, drunkenness vary from person to person, gender to gender, size to size, and age to age. Blood and/or breath testing are currently the only scientific ways of determining whether one’s alcohol concentration exceeds state limits for drivers.

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