Texas DWI Laws: Use of Breathalyzers

Texas considers driving while impaired by substances a legal offense. DWI, which stands for “Driving While Intoxicated,” is a commonly known term. It means driving after having had too much alcohol or drugs.

When the police suspect someone of DWI, they use a particular device called a breathalyzer. Aside from using various Field Sobriety Tests, this device helps authorities determine if a person is too impaired to drive. This article explains how breathalyzers work and their significance for individuals potentially facing DWI charges in Texas.

Knowing how these devices work and what to do if you’re facing DWI charges is important. Understanding the rules can help you stay informed and avoid legal problems in Texas.

Understanding DWI in Texas

Driving while intoxicated, or DWI for short, is a serious legal issue in the state of Texas. It happens when someone operates a vehicle after consuming too much alcohol or using drugs. Texas sets specific limits on the amount of alcohol you can have in your system while driving.

The legal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) for the state is 0.08% and under. If your BAC level exceeds these limits, you can find yourself in legal trouble.

Texas law takes DWI offenses seriously, and there are significant penalties for those convicted. These penalties can include fines, suspension of your driver’s license, and even imprisonment. It’s crucial for anyone driving in Texas to be aware of these rules and the potential consequences.

Understanding the laws and limits related to DWI can help you stay on the right side of the law. Moreover, it can help you avoid the legal repercussions associated with driving under the influence.

The Role of Breathalyzers

Breathalyzers play a vital role in DWI cases in Texas. A breathalyzer is a device used by law enforcement officers to determine if a driver has consumed too much alcohol. It works by analyzing the alcohol content in a person’s breath. This device is important for checking if someone is driving drunk and helps police make smart choices during traffic stops.

In Texas, there are specific legal requirements for the use of breathalyzers. If you have a driver’s license, you must agree to take a breathalyzer test. A police officer may require this during a DWI investigation. However, the law establishes rules about when these tests require a warrant, ensuring compliance.

In Texas, there are two main types of breathalyzer tests: the Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) and the Evidentiary Breath Test (EBT).

The PBT is given during a traffic stop to quickly check if someone might be driving under the influence. The EBT is a precise test done at a police station or other designated places to gather more information. Understanding the tests and how they work is crucial for individuals facing DWI charges in Texas. These tests have a significant impact on the outcome of their case.

Failure to Provide a Breath Sample

Texas state law requires drivers to provide a breath sample when requested by a police officer during a DWI  investigation. The Texas Penal Code outlines this requirement, specifically in Section 724.011. Failing to do so can lead to serious legal consequences.

In Texas, authorities consider refusing to submit a breath sample a criminal offense. People commonly refer to this act as “breath test refusal.” If you refuse a breathalyzer test in Texas, the state can suspend your driver’s license. Even if you are not found guilty of a DWI, you can still have your license suspended.

The duration of the suspension can vary depending on the offender’s prior record. It can also depend on whether they have previously refused a breath test.

Furthermore, a breath test refusal can have additional consequences in court if the DWI case proceeds. Prosecutors may use the refusal as evidence against the accused, suggesting a consciousness of guilt. Generally, this can make it more challenging to defend against the DWI charge.

Legal Implications

In Texas, DWI cases involve specific legal consequences related to the admissibility of breathalyzer results and refusal to take a breathalyzer test. Understanding these implications is vital for those facing DWI charges.

Admissibility of Breathalyzer Results

In Texas, breathalyzer results are generally admissible as evidence in court. However, it’s essential to recognize the potential penalties associated with a DWI conviction:

First-Time Offender:

A first-time DWI conviction in Texas with a BAC over the legal limit may be classified as a Class B misdemeanor. The consequences can be a $2,000 fine, 180 days in jail time, and losing your driver’s license for a year.

Subsequent Offenses:

If you have previous DWI convictions, the penalties become more severe, including higher fines, longer jail sentences, and longer license suspensions.


In some cases, the court may place DWI offenders on probation. The court may require participation in alcohol education programs and the installation of an ignition interlock device in their vehicle.

The Consequences of Refusing a Breathalyzer Test in Texas

Refusing a breathalyzer test in Texas can have immediate consequences.

Driver’s License Suspension:

If you refuse a breathalyzer test in Texas, the state can suspend your driver’s license for 180 days. This penalty applies to first-time refusals. For subsequent refusals, the suspension can extend to two years.

Impact on a Criminal Case:

Refusing the test will not always prevent a DWI charge. The prosecution can still use other evidence against you, even without breathalyzer results.

Defenses Against Breathalyzer Evidence

To challenge breathalyzer evidence effectively, it’s important to understand potential defenses as well as their associated consequences.

Proper Administration of the Test:

If the breathalyzer test wasn’t administered correctly, it may result in the exclusion of the test results as evidence. Consequences can include reduced or dismissed charges.

Chain of Custody and Documentation:

Raising doubts about the chain of custody of the evidence can weaken the prosecution’s case. If successful, this may lead to reduced charges or an acquittal.

Accuracy and Reliability of the Device: 

Challenging the accuracy of the specific breathalyzer device used can also affect the outcome of the case. Questioning the device’s reliability may result in reduced charges or an acquittal.

It’s important to know the consequences and defenses for DWI cases. However, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to guide you through the legal process.

Arrested? Don’t Plea, Call Me!

Having a good criminal defense lawyer can greatly change how your case goes if you are charged with DWI. Texas Criminal Defense Group comprehends the seriousness of your situation and commits to offering robust legal assistance. Our skilled lawyers will handle your case carefully and with expertise, ensuring the best outcome for your future.

Navigating the complexities of the legal system can be daunting, especially when confronted with the possibility of imprisonment. A good lawyer not only aims to win but also puts in effort to provide you with the best defense possible. They utilize their knowledge to fight the accusations against you. Our skilled attorney will fight for your rights, negotiate deals, present evidence, challenge procedures, and work to minimize consequences.