DWI Refusal means the chemical (breath or blood) test was refused by the driver. This will automatically result in a 180 day suspension, if it's a 1st time DWI or if any prior DWIs are more than 10 years in the past. If there are DWI priors within 10 years, the suspension is 2 years. Source.
In Short, yes. Based on weighing the license suspension against evidence on a DWI case, it's fairly simple to realize that refusing the chemical tests makes sense. The trade off is this: Refuse the tests, and get an extra 3 month suspension of your license (assuming you would test above .08%, which has a 3 month suspension). If you take the breath or blood tests, you make it more difficult to fight the DWI, since you're giving the government more evidence against you.
Put it this way: Would you prefer to have your license suspension 3 months longer, or make it more likely you'll deal with all of these DWI Consequences?
There is also a second Court based suspension on the DWI, if you lose the DWI (or plead), so you'll end up with a second (roughly 90 day or more) license suspension anyway! And it's up to the Judge to determine if those suspensions run concurrent.
DWI is one of the most complex areas of criminal law, mixing the law, science, and forensics all into one. You need an attorney with trial expereience, knowledge of the law, and the scientific knowledge of breath tests, blood tests.
See our DWI Consultation Questionnaire here, or download it and call us for a Free DWI Consultation.
What We Tell Our Clients: If you've been drinking and feel that you may be near the legal limit (.08%), we advise our clients to refuse the tests -- ALL of the tests. Politely but firmly ask the officer to call an attorney prior to agreeing to anything (other than providing name, license, insurance, and general non-alcohol related preliminary questions). The officer will most likely refuse. Keep insisting, letting them know you're not comfortable with the questioning; the entire incident is being captured on video, and the more your insist you need to speak with an attorney, the better position it places you in. At some point the officer will tell you that by asking for a lawyer, you're essentially refusing. That's fine. You avoid the chemical tests and have exercised your constutitional rights. Yes, you will be arrested. Yes, you will receive a license suspension. But you've limited the amount of actual evidence against you for a DWI.
Lets say you had three beers or so. Lets assume, although this is questionable, that you're BAC is roughly .06% in truth, at the time of driving. Many breath tests have a margin of error of roughly .02% (may vary). This means there is a 'swing' of breath results. Your .06%, when tested by a breath machine with a .02% margin of error, could result in the machine reading either .04% or .08%. That's a big problem for you, if it's .08%. That means arrest, a criminal case, and all the consequences you'll find on our DWI Consequences page.
Absolutely. There are no legal consequences of refusing to do the field sobeity tests -- aside from explaining the decision to a jury. Why refuse the chemical tests, only to then do a series of gymnasatic like physical balance tests? By declining to do the HGN Nystagmous Test, the Walk and Turn, and the One Leg Stand, you're limiting any evidence that WILL be used against you later.
Unlike the chemical tests (breath, blood), an officer is not required to tell you that refusal of the FSTs is allowed. In fact, they may phrase it as a command, such as "I need you to do this test," or "I'm going to look into your eyes, hold still."
Austin frequently has "no refusal weekends," meaning that if you refuse a breath or blood test, Austin Police will obtain a search warrant to draw blood, and take it regardless of your refusal. Assuming all procedures are properly followed, a forced blood draw with a warrant has been held by the Texas and US Supreme Courts as "valid."
The truth is, since roughly 2014, Austin Police has routinely obtained Blood Draw Search Warrants on DWI Refusals. A forced blood draw is a real possiblity on nay Austin Refusal case, regardless of whether it's a "no refusal weekend."
Still, search warrants take time and effort to procure. Refusal is still the better choice when you weigh the options and consequences..
The Keates Law Firm has over 14+ Years Experience handling criminal defense cases. Our focus is to try and have the case dismissed against you. We don't even discuss pleas until all legal and negotiation options have been explored in detail.
Our Results Speak for Themselves. Keates Law Firm has a record of dismissals and acquittals in a variety of criminal cases. We are dismissal focused, and we get results.