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What are the Penalties for Refusing a Breathalyzer in NY?


Once you have obtained a valid driver's license in New York, you are automatically subject to the state's implied consent laws. This means that you are legally required to submit to a chemical test—which may include a breath, blood, saliva or urine test—if a law enforcement officer suspects that you have been driving while intoxicated. They have the right to choose which test they would like to administer once they have made an initial traffic stop, but they must do so within 2 hours of you operating a motor vehicle. If they discover that your blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) is at .08% or greater, they would subsequently have reason to arrest you for a DWI offense.

Now, many people wonder whether or not they have the right to simply refuse a chemical test in New York. Although you can refuse to comply with standard field sobriety testing—including the One-Leg Stand, Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus and Walk and Turn—it is important to understand that you cannot refuse to submit to a chemical test without consequence. For this reason, the New York City criminal defense lawyers at Law Offices of Daniel A. Hochheiser encourage you to learn more about the penalties associated with refusing a breathalyzer test. In some cases, they can be even more severe than the ramifications of a DWI arrest.

When you refuse a chemical test for the first time, your driver's license will automatically be suspended for one year. You will also be expected to pay a $500 fine for violating the state's implied consent law. For a second or subsequent refusal, your license will be suspended for 18 months and you will be expected to pay a $750 fine—which is also applicable if you refuse a chemical test for the first time but you had been convicted of DWI within the previous five years. Although these penalties may not be as serious as those associated with a DWI conviction, it is important to understand that the prosecution could use your non-compliance as evidence of your guilt.

For this reason, it may not be in your best interests to refuse a breathalyzer test—even if you think that your blood-alcohol concentration could be over the legal limit. By enlisting the help of a New York criminal defense attorney after failing a chemical test, you can take steps to challenge the validity of their results. The legal team at Law Offices of Daniel A. Hochheiser can contribute decades of experience to your defense, so we encourage you to learn more about how we can help by calling our office today at 800-813-9069 for a free initial consultation. From there, we can get started on implementing a strong legal strategy on your behalf.

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