You can refuse a police breathalyzer test if you are not driving in Texas, but drivers will face the consequences if they refuse chemical testing under the Texas implied consent laws. These laws do not apply to passengers. Texas law requires only drivers to take breath or chemical tests in most circumstances.
If you are over the legal drinking age of 21 years old, you have not committed a crime just by being intoxicated, and they should not ask to conduct a breathalyzer test. There are a few exceptions, such as if they want you to drive the vehicle because the driver shows signs of intoxication. If this occurs, you can admit you were drinking and should not face consequences.
Understanding Texas Implied Consent Laws
Texas has an implied consent law that states you will consent to blood alcohol concentration (BAC) testing if the police have reason to believe you are driving while under the influence of alcohol. Refusal to take a breath test or other chemical test will result in penalties that include an automatic driver’s license suspension.
However, you can refuse a police breathalyzer test if you are not driving in Texas and are over the legal drinking age, as there is no reason the police should ask you to take a breathalyzer test to begin with. As a passenger in a vehicle, you should not encounter this situation. If you do, you are within your rights to refuse the test and should not face any consequences for doing so.
You Could Still Face Charges in Some Circumstances
Even if the police see an open container in the vehicle, they should not need to conduct breath testing on adults in the vehicle who are not driving and have no intention of driving. You can face open container or public intoxication charges without a breath test.
Police Breathalyzer Tests and Underage Drinking
One reason police may ask a passenger to consent to a breath test is if the passenger is underage and appears to be intoxicated. If you are under the legal drinking age, the police may ask to conduct breathalyzer testing to collect evidence for an underage drinking case against you.
You do not have to participate but understand that there are likely other ways they can determine if you were drinking, and you could still receive a citation. The arresting officer can testify to:
- Smelling alcohol on you
- Intoxicated behavior
- Lack of coordination, slurring words, or other signs of intoxication
- Your own admission of drinking
- Any open containers in the vehicle
While taking a police breathalyzer test cannot help your underage drinking case unless you are sober, you do not have to give the police any additional evidence. It is important to note, though, that many non-driving alcohol-related offenses by minors still come with a driver’s license suspension, as well as other penalties.
Talk to a Texas Drunk Driving Attorney About Your Case
If you face driving while intoxicated, underage drinking, or other alcohol-related charges, the team of lawyers from Eddington Worley Attorneys are here to help. We will review your case and represent you during the legal process. Let us fight for a more favorable outcome for you.
Call us today at 855-600-6695 to learn more.