Driving while intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol is never a good idea no matter where you live. Each state has its own laws when it comes to DUI/DWI offenses and all involve serious consequences. While New York didn’t make the list for having the strictest DUI/DWI laws in the country, the state still imposes some pretty serious penalties on those who drink and drive. This includes refusing to take a breathalyzer test. This is a popular topic with arguments both for and against refusing a breathalyzer. Knowing the law and understanding the consequences may clear up the confusion.
Refusing a Breathalyzer Test
Driving is considered a privilege, not a right, in the state of New York. If you have been pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving, you will be asked to take a breathalyzer test to check your blood alcohol content or BAC. You have the right to refuse to take the test but the question is – should you?
If you do refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test, be aware it comes with its own set of consequences. New York, like many other states, has an implied consent law. This law basically states that if you are driving on a public road and there is reasonable suspicion that you are impaired, you must agree to take a breathalyzer test.
Refusing a breathalyzer in NY results in an automatic suspension of your driver’s license for 6 months to a year and a fine of up to $500. These are in addition to the DUI/DWI penalties should you be arrested and found guilty. An out of state driver who gets pulled over in NY for suspicion of driving while intoxicated will likely face the same penalties under the Interstate Driver’s License Compact.
Along with the additional penalties it will incur, refusing a breathalyzer will almost certainly be viewed as an admission of guilt when you go to court. So, it seems pretty cut and dry. You should always consent to a breathalyzer test, right? In most cases, the best choice is to take the test and avoid additional penalties. However, there are exceptions to every rule.
When to Consider Refusing a Breathalyzer Test
While we are not advocating it, refusing a breathalyzer test could be beneficial if you are extremely drunk and will blow a BAC well beyond the legal limit of .08. Not everyone is aware that there is a more serious DUI/DWI charge if your BAC is above .18 called Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated. This is a misdemeanor, which if you are found guilty of you may be looking at serious jail time – up to one year. When faced with time in prison, you may decide you’d rather refuse the breathalyzer and hope your lawyer can negotiate to have the penalties for refusal reduced or incorporated into your DUI/DWI penalties if found guilty.
Hire an Experienced NY Criminal Defense Attorney
Regardless of whether you took the breathalyzer test or not, if you’ve been arrested for DUI/DWI in New York, it’s time to hire a criminal defense attorney. The penalties and fines that come with DUI and DWI convictions can have a ripple effect that impacts every part of your life. You need someone at your side in court that knows the law inside and out and will work hard to provide you with the best outcome possible.
Andy Weinstein is that attorney. He will thoroughly evaluate all the circumstances surrounding your charge and provide the best defense possible for your DUI/DWI related charges. Andy started his own law practice because he saw a need for diligent defense attorneys who both know the system and will thoughtfully and forcefully protect their clients to the end. Specializing in criminal defense, he accurately assesses your circumstances to provide you with top-notch representation and the best possible outcome. Schedule a consultation with Andy and experience for yourself what makes Andy Weinstein Law unique.