Do you have to take a sobriety test in Texas?

Texas is one of many U.S. states with an implied consent law for sobriety tests when driving while intoxicated. Under this law, motorists who drive in the state must submit to a breath test if asked to do so by law enforcement.

If you frequently drive in Texas, know your rights and responsibilities during a DWI stop.

Types of sobriety tests

The officer at the scene can decide whether to give you a breath test or blood test to determine the presence of drugs or alcohol in the body. However, after you take the officer’s test, you can have a blood test from the doctor of your choice at your own expense within two hours of the arrest.

Test refusal

You can decide to decline a sobriety test at the scene of the DWI arrest. However, doing so can result in license suspension and other penalties in addition to the legal consequences of a DWI conviction.

In a few cases, you cannot legally refuse the sobriety test. This law applies if:

  • You have a prior DWI conviction involving a child passenger, manslaughter or assault.
  • You have two prior DWI convictions.
  • You caused an accident that resulted in death or serious injury.

Refusing a sobriety test can also count against you during your DWI hearing. However, you do not have to take the test at the roadside, though law enforcement may ask you to submit to a handheld breath test. The officer must have probable cause to suspect a DWI and arrest you before requiring a sobriety test.