If an officer suspects that you are driving under influence in New York, they may ask you to take a Breathalyzer test to try to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC). Depending on the results of the test, you could end up facing drunk driving charges.
In New York, drunk driving charges can be quite serious, so you may wonder if you can simply refuse the Breathalyzer test.
You can — but not without paying a price.
You may lose your driver’s license
Like most states, New York has an implied consent law. This basically states that anyone driving on a public road must agree to take the Breathalyzer test if there is reasonable suspicion that they are impaired. As long as the officer followed the law when requesting you to take the test, a refusal to comply can automatically result in the suspension of your driver’s license for up to one year, as well as a fine of up to $500.
Your refusal can hurt you in court
Refusing a breathalyzer test can greatly limit your ability to defend yourself when you go on trial. For instance, a common defense against a DWI charge is usually that the test results were inaccurate. When no breathalyzer was administered to you, this line of argument will obviously be off the table.
Plus, a jury can be told about your refusal to submit to the Breathalyzer test and told that is evidence of “consciousness of guilt.” In other words, the prosecution may say you only refused to blow because you knew you’d fail the test.
Drinking and driving is never a wise idea. You can end up facing drunk driving charges even when your BAC is below the legal limit. If that happens, take proactive measures to defend your rights and your future.