Can I Refuse a Breath Test in NYC? | Law Office of James Medows

01 Apr Can I Refuse a Breath Test in NYC?

Flashing lights in the rearview mirror can send shock, fear and worry through any driver, but they’re enough to spark sheer terror in people who have had a few cocktails with dinner or who have shared a couple of beers with buddies before getting behind the wheel.

The penalties for alcohol-related violations of New York state law are extremely harsh, so it makes sense that you’d be worried while police are pulling you over.

When the officer comes to your window and asks you to take a breath test, you might be shocked into complying… but you don’t have to.

Should You Take a Roadside Breath Test?

While every case is unique, it might not be a good idea to take a breath test. New York has “implied consent” laws, which means that when you drive, law enforcement has the right to tell you to take a chemical test to determine whether you’ve been drinking.

Bear in mind that if you do refuse, you’ll lose your driver’s license for one year (18 months if you’re a commercial driver) and you’ll be fined. If you have had a DWI-related charge in the past five years, you could be facing steeper fines and longer license revocation time.

Why Would Someone Refuse a Breath Test?

If you’ve had one or two drinks and you think you’re teetering just over the legal limit, which is 0.08, you may think it’s a good idea to refuse the breath test.

You’ll probably still be tested—but you’ll be tested when you’re in police custody, and they may take a blood sample. It might take them several hours to get to your blood testing, which means that you may not be over the legal limit at that time.

In most cases, it’s a good idea to comply with police if you’re sure that you haven’t had too much to drink. However, you can always call a Brooklyn DWI attorney to be sure. I’m available at 917-856-1247 to help walk you through your options.