Billionaire, Alice Walton, the daughter of the founder of the retail giant, Walmart, was recently charged with DWI during a Texas traffic stop in which she refused a Breathalyzer test. The incident occurred in Fort Worth on her birthday after she left a celebratory dinner at a restaurant. The Parker County resident was driving through a 55 mph construction zone in Weatherford. According to the patrolman with the Department of Public Safety who pulled her over, she was driving 71 mph. No construction workers were present at the time of the incident.

Ms. Walton allegedly failed a field sobriety test during the traffic violation stop, but she refused to take a Breathalyzer test. She was arrested for driving while intoxicated. This was her first such offense in the state of Texas. In Texas, this is classified as a class B misdemeanor. Ms. Walton was taken to Parker County Jail where she spent the night and was released on $1,000 bail that next morning.

Although her arrest was classified as a first offense, Ms. Walton had received a DWI conviction in 1998 in Arkansas. In the Arkansas incident, she also refused to submit to a blood-alcohol test. Ms. Walton was also involved in a fatal car accident in 1989 in which a 50-year-old pedestrian died. Ms. Walton was not charged in that incident.

As Ms. Walton's situation shows, refusal to submit to a Breathalyzer test does not automatically lead to conviction. With a strong criminal defense attorney it is possible to defend against DWI charges after such a refusal is made. This is a good example of how having an experienced DWI defense attorney can help Texas residents facing similar charges to obtain the best results possible.

Source: Weatherford Democrat, "Walton 'accepts full responsibility,'" Christin Coyne, Oct. 13, 2011