Suppose you are in New York City and officers pull you over under the suspicion of driving while intoxicated. In that case, you will most likely be subjected to a breathalyzer test. Should you take or refuse the breathalyzer test? And if you refuse, can your license be suspended?
According to The Law Offices of Jason A. Steinberger, LLC, you can refuse a breathalyzer test in New York City. However, once you do so, you are initiating a traffic infraction which leads to an automatic one-year license suspension and a fine of $500.
But what happens if you are later acquitted of the underlying DUI/DWAI or DWI charge? And, is it worth it to refuse a breathalyzer test regardless? In some cases, it is. Let’s find out the implications of refusing a breathalyzer test in New York City.
New York Breathalyzer Refusal Penalties
No matter how you look at it, refusing a breathalyzer test in NYC will yield a $500 fine and a one-year license suspension. These charges will still stand despite proving that you weren’t driving while under the influence or driving with your abilities impaired.
However, if you weren’t convicted of a DUI/DWAI or DWI in New York, you can make a request to receive a conditional license that allows you to at least drive your vehicle to and from work. However, if you were convicted of these charges after your Refusal Hearing at the DMV, you will lose the right to carry even a conditional license.
If you decide to go to trial, you should know that the jury will hear about your refusal, and it might be considered a good argument that you refused the breathalyzer test as a means to hide the fact that you were driving under the influence.
On the positive side, refusing to take a breathalyzer or chemical test won’t provide the prosecutor with concrete evidence of your blood alcohol content (BAC). However, the arresting officer can testify that you were intoxicated while driving by declaring that:
- You had bloodshot eyes
- You smelled of alcohol
- Your driving was erratic, as was your behavior
- You were unsteady on your feet
Breathalyzer Test in Court
In many situations, the breathalyzer test isn’t always reliable and can be challenged in court, especially if the arresting officer didn’t perform it well. The less evidence you provide the prosecutors, the better for your case.
However, if you were above the legal BAC limit of .08, the penalties that you will face for refusing a breathalyzer test, along with the fact that your refusal will generate consciousness of guilt evidence, will lead to severe penalties.
In this situation, the best thing you can do is hire a DUI/DWI defense lawyer to challenge the test in the hopes of having your case dismissed or getting a plea deal.
When Does It Make Sense to Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in New York?
If refusing a breathalyzer test in New York results in a one-year license suspension and a $500 fine, does it still make sense to refuse it? In some cases, it does. For example, suppose an individual is very drunk. In that case, they can’t solely rely on the mechanical BAC results to be in their favor because, in most cases, it might very well be above the allowable .08 limit.
Aggravated driving while intoxicated is a serious offense. It is a misdemeanor that can be punished by up to one year in jail, and it also brings other problems. Apart from this, you might even contribute proof that your BAC levels are above the .08 limit for more severe DUI/DWI charges.
Since there is more at stake by accepting the breathalyzer test in some situations, it would make sense to refuse it and fight for a lower deal with proper legal assistance by your side without a high breathalyzer result against you.
A good DUI/DWI defense attorney can help you in your case and fight for your rights. They can help you receive a lower sentence or have other charges completely dropped, saving you from a lot of trouble in the long run.