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Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in New York?

If you get pulled over under the suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the police officer will invoke New York’s “implied consent” to have you submit to a chemical test to determine the amount of drugs or alcohol in your system.

While this is standard practice, you may be wondering if you have the option to refuse a breathalyzer test. While, technically, you can, you may face some serious consequences.

Why Must You Take a Breathalyzer Test

While there is the obvious answer of using the test to determine your BAC, you actually imply consent to this test every time you drive a vehicle. Under New York’s Implied Consent Law, you imply consent to chemical tests for alcohol and drug use once getting behind the wheel. It’s also important to note that you cannot refuse a chemical test if your DWI involves an accident in which a person sustained injuries or died.

What Happens If I Refuse?

Refusing a breathalyzer test, upon being stopped under probable cause for driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, carries some serious consequences.

  • First Refusal: You receive an automatic one-year suspension of your license and a fine up to $500.

  • Second Refusal: You receive an 18-month suspension of your license. This also occurs if you’ve had a DWI conviction in the past five years.

  • Third Refusal: You may have your license permanently revoked.

Your refusal, even a first, can also be used against you by the prosecutor if your case goes to trial.

Are There Special Circumstances?

In order to revoke or suspend your license for a chemical test refusal, a police officer must read you your rights and the consequences of a refusal. Implied consent does also not apply before a driver is arrested.

Protect Your Rights with the Right Defense Lawyer

If you’ve been arrested for a DWI or related charge, it’s important to have the right defense lawyer in your corner. At O'Brien & Wood PLLC, we’ve handled hundreds of cases involving DWI, so we will do everything in our power to make sure all your rights are protected.

Contact us today to begin planning your defense.

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