New York DWI Breathalyzer Refusal
Unfortunately, many drivers buy into the misconception that when a cop asks you to take a breath test, you are doing yourself a favor by refusing. Some may believe it's a good way to withhold evidence from the police officers. But in reality--because of New York's Implied Consent Law--you are actually hurting your case and giving both the officer and the court more reason to suspect you were indeed driving drunk. Additionally, no matter the outcome of the drunk-driving case, a breathalyzer refusal will be punished with an automatic license suspension. These are important things to think about when being asked to take a test.
There are three common chemical tests officers use to determine a driver's intoxication level: breath, blood and urine. Because the breath (or breathalyzer) test is the most portable for roadside evaluations, it is the most commonly used--and therefore, refused--test. The device is used to register the blood alcohol content (BAC), which can't exceed .08 percent. If an officer believes you are under the influence of drugs as well, he or she will take you to a detention facility to administer a blood or urine test.
The Officer's Obligation
It is important to note that officers must make you aware of the punishments for refusing a test during the time of arrest. If the officer gives you the proper warning, and you still refuse, the officer then has the right to ask for your license on the spot. If you choose to fight the suspension, you will have to appear in court at a Department of Motor Vehicles hearing, which is usually held about 15 days from the refusal date.
Reasons Not To Refuse
The main reason why most drivers are advised not to refuse a breath test is because the penalties for the refusal alone are pretty steep, including a mandatory license suspension term of up to one year and a large fine. If you are eventually convicted of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), these punishments will be added to your sentence. If you are acquitted, you will still have to follow through with the penalties.
In addition, if you refuse to take a test, you will also be denied any chance of receiving a conditional driver's license, which allows you to drive to school, work, etc. Those convicted of DWI after taking the test--and failing it--are usually able to get a conditional license.
Can You Fight A Refusal?
While a refusal causes a number of complications, there are still measures you can take to make sure you get the best outcome possible. Having representation from a knowledgeable defense lawyer is the number-one thing you can do to ease the interruptions the arrest will have on your life. If you're facing a DWI with refusal charge and would like to talk to someone about it free of charge, please call toll-free or submit your case details online.