What Happens If I Refuse a Breath Test in New York?

Just like every other state in the nation, New York State utilizes what is known as an "implied consent" law in regards to driving on public roadways. To put it briefly, it declares that by willingly deciding to use the roads and your privilege to drive, you have automatically agreed to submit to any blood, breath, or urine test law enforcement officers might ask you to take, should you be pulled over for valid reasons. These three kinds of chemical tests are dissimilar from field sobriety tests in the way that if you refuse to take any of them, you could actually be punished for it.

Breath tests are the most common form of roadside chemical testing, as they are the easiest – and cleanest – to conduct and only require a little breathalyzer device that the officer can keep in his pocket. Before you are asked to take a breath test, though, you should be told first that if you refuse, which you have every right to do so, you will lose your license. It is worth saying again: you will lose your license if you refuse to take a breath test.

Due to the implied consent laws in place, your refusal is a direct violation of that law and you can and will be punished for it. The first time you refuse to take a breath test, the DMV will automatically suspend your license for 12 months and, in most cases, you are slapped with a $500 fine. Subsequent refusals suspend it for 18 months and charge you up to $750. Keep in mind that these penalties are simply for refusing to submit to a chemical test and do not even include what could happen if you are actually convicted of a DWI.

Should I even bother refusing to take a breath test?

In most cases, even if you had been drinking before getting behind the wheel, you will not want to refuse to take a breath test after being pulled over. The automatic penalties that spring on you serve their purpose and ultimately make denying any chemical tests not worth the trouble. In many cases, it is actually easier – and less expensive and more painless – to take the breath test and challenge the consequent DWI charges, if there are any at all.

If you feel like your rights have been violated by an unlawful stop that led to a breath test or DWI arrest, you need to take action right away! Our Long Island DWI attorneys at Prime & O'Brien, LLP have been serving and protecting the accused for more than 20 years. Contact us today if you would like to start working with a team with compassion, know-how, and dedication.

Categories: DUI, Breath Tests
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