What Happens If You Refuse A Breathalyzer Test in New York?
When you get pulled over for drunk driving, you can expect the officer to conduct a Field Sobriety Test to test your coordination and cognition. A Standard Field Sobriety Test consists of 3 components:
- · The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), during which the officer positions a pen light (or similar) about 15 inches from your nose and slowly moves it across your field of vision.
- · The Walk-and-Turn, where you’ll be asked to take 9 heel-to-toe steps forward in a straight line and then 9 steps (in the opposition direction) back to where you were originally standing.
- · The one-legged stand, where you’ll be asked to stand on one leg (usually about 6 inches off the ground) and count, from 1,001, until the officer permits you to put your foot down.
In addition to a Field Sobriety Test, you can be asked to take a breathalyzer test, which will be used to measure your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC), or another chemical test (blood, urine, and/or saliva). You do have the right to refuse to blow, but should you?
Can I Refuse to Take a Breathalyzer?
You do have the right to refuse to take a breathalyzer, but you should know that refusing to blow comes with consequences.
New York has what is known as an “Implied Consent Law,” which requires you to submit to chemical testing (breathe, blood, urine, and/or saliva) as a means of determining the amount of drugs, or alcohol, in your body. In other words, if you’re driving on a public road in the state of New York, and are suspected of driving under the influence, then you are required to take a breathalyzer test. The officer does not need a warrant issued by the court.
What If I Refuse a Breathalyzer?
Refusing to take a breathalyzer test in the state of New York gets your license automatically suspended for anywhere from 6-12 months and a civil fine of up to $500. If you’ve refused to blow, or have been convicted of DUI/DWI, within the past 5 years then you can expect a fine of up to $750.
What If I'm From Out of State?
If you’re an out-of-state driver and get pulled over for suspected drunk driving, you’re likely to face the same penalties because of the Interstate Driver’s License Compact, which allows states to share driver’s license information and traffic violation records. This means you can’t evade the consequences of drunk driving by moving state-to-state.
Aside from additional penalties, if you refuse to breathe then it’s highly likely that it will be seen as an admission of guilt in court.
Can Police Force Me to Take a Breathalyzer Test?
A police officer can’t make you take a chemical test in most situations, but if you’re involved in an accident where someone is killed or seriously injured while you’re driving under the influence, then you might not have a choice.
Along with facing felony charges of vehicular manslaughter or second-degree murders, you’ll be looking at jail time, fines, and either license suspension or revocation. You can read more about New York’s vehicular homicide laws here.
If you, or someone you know, are facing drunk driving charges in the state of New York, then an experienced Long Island DUI/DWI lawyer can help drop your charges, reduce your felony down to a misdemeanor, and even lower your fines and jail time.
Our affordable and dedicated DUI/DWI lawyers have years defending the drivers of Suffolk County and can assist you through the process. Schedule a consultation today by submitting a form here or by calling our office at (631)643-3084.
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