Refusing A Breathalyzer Test in New York State

Someone using a breathalyzer

It’s pretty obvious that some of us can make pretty poor decisions at times.  Drinking while driving is something that happens more often than we would like to admit.   As much as we like to pat ourselves on the back for being smarter and more evolved than any other species on earth, human beings commit cognitive missteps all the time. We constantly under or over-estimate decisions we make and are capable of making very irrational decisions especially when alcohol is involved.

Alcohol tends to negatively affect many of our decisions and when anyone who has had a few too many drinks these decisions can lead to a lifetime of regret.  No wonder why some drivers under the influence decide they’re sober enough to drive despite evidence to the contrary. Reeking of vodka or cocktails, they slide behind the wheel, start their cars and eventually arouse police attention. Next thing you know they’re on the side of the road, explaining to an officer how they’ve only had one drink.

Sound familiar? It’s a fairly common situation and one that you may run into if you drink regularly. It is also common place in a scenario like this to decline a police officer’s request to perform a sobriety test, or submit to a Breathalyzer test. Unfortunately, there are steep consequences to refusing to submit to a Breathalyzer, up to and including the suspension of your license.

What Are The Consequences For Refusing A Breathalyzer Test In New York?

In addition to being issued a ticket for the refusal, DMV will summon the driver to what is called a “refusal hearing” to determine whether or not the person refused. If DMV finds a person guilty of having refused, they will suspend the person’s driving privileges for one year.  This is true EVEN if the person is ultimately found not guilty of DWI. A suspended license is more than a minor inconvenience; it legally prohibits a driver from operating their motor vehicle. If they are caught driving anyway they can be charged with a misdemeanor and in some cases even a felony. A suspended license also impacts other things in a person’s life. For example, alcohol related offenses can result in a permanent criminal record and can impact your ability to acquire a loan and cause your car insurance to skyrocket. It can also look bad to an employer looking at that person’s driving history and background.

Long story short, refusing a Breathalyzer test has a ripple effect on one’s life, touching upon many aspects and facets. Understanding the consequences of refusing such a test is important. Essentially, any person who operates a motor vehicle in New York is be deemed to have given consent to a chemical test of, among other things, his or her breath for the purpose of determining the alcoholic and/or drug content of that person’s blood under New York traffic law VTL 1194(2)(a.

What Should I Do If I Am Being Charged With Refusing A Breathalyzer Test In New York?

Of course, the best decision a person can make while under the influence is to refrain from driving at all, giving their keys to a sober friend or driver. If you find yourself in a similar situation we encourage you to contact a qualified legal expert immediately. The lawyers at the Rosenblum Law Firm can assess your situation and give you the advice you need to get your life back on track.


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