New York is an implied consent state, which means that anyone who operates a motor vehicle automatically consents to a chemical test – a blood, alcohol, saliva or breath test – during a valid traffic stop. If an officer pulls you over under suspicion of DWI, you have the right to refuse to take the breathalyzer, but you will face consequences:
- First Refusal: One-year license revocation and $500 civil penalty for regular drivers; 18-month revocation and $550 civil penalty for commercial drivers
- Second & Subsequent Refusal: 18-month license revocation if you refused a chemical test or were convicted of DWI in the last five years; $750 civil penalty; permanent CDL revocation
Even if you refuse the breathalyzer, the officer may still have probable cause to arrest you for DWI based on the color of your eyes, your performance on field sobriety tests, and the smell of your breath. Because you refused the test, you will have to attend a refusal hearing.
It is wise to let a criminal attorney represent you during this hearing. Depending on the facts surrounding your arrest, there could be a defense that works in your favor.
If you were arrested for DWI, felony DWI or DWAI in New York, contact Darren DeUrso, Attorney at Law. Mr. DeUrso will prepare you for the refusal hearing and explain the potential outcomes of your case. Call 914-772-8614 today to schedule a consultation.
In the meantime, read on to learn more about refusal hearings in New York:
What Happens during the Refusal Hearing?
At the refusal hearing, the arresting officer has to explain how he or she warned you of the consequences of a breath test refusal after the initial refusal. A judge will evaluate if the officer had reasonable suspicion to make the stop, and whether the suspect “persistently” refused to take a breath, urine, blood or saliva test. If the judge determines that you persistently refused a chemical test despite being warned of the consequences, then you will face a license revocation and civil penalty.
Sometimes officers do not attend refusal hearings. In these situations, judges often reinstate suspects’ driver’s licenses until the next hearing. However, if you were charged with other offenses, or if you have previous convictions for refusing a chemical test or DWI, then the judge may not reinstate your license.
Should You Refuse the Breath Test?
The answer to this question is almost always “no.” Although the prosecuting authority will have less evidence against you, he or she can still reference your performance on field sobriety tests and other evidence to secure a conviction. Also, it may be difficult for you to get a conditional driver’s license if you refuse the breath test.
A license revocation and expensive penalty can be tragic for any driver, but if you operate a taxi, bus or another commercial vehicle, then your livelihood may be at stake. Even if you maintain a conditional license, you will not be able to use it for commercial vehicle operation.
If you have been charged with DWI or a related offense, your first call should be to a criminal attorney. Darren DeUrso, Attorney at Law is a White Plains DWI lawyer who will aggressively fight for a positive outcome to your case. Schedule a free initial consultation today by calling 914-772-8614.