What Happens if You Refuse a Blood or Breath test in New York

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There are few moments more stressful than being pulled over by a police officer and asked to take a breath or blood test.

But is it appropriate for the police officer to make that request?

The short answer is yes.

According to New York’s Implied Consent Law, if you drive in New York state, you implicitly consent to a chemical test to determine the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) or drug content in your blood if a police officer legally stops you for suspected drunk or impaired driving.

Under this law, if a police officer wants you to submit to a test of your breath, blood, urine, and/or saliva, the officer does not need to get a court-issued warrant.

You are considered to have consented simply by the act of driving in New York. So you must comply with the officer’s request.

But what if you don’t comply with the officer’s request?

Just like any other law, a person can choose whether or not to comply. When you don’t comply with the Implied Consent Law and refuse to take a chemical test, you face the following penalties:

      • A minimum one-year license suspension.
      • A $500 fine.
      • An 18-month license suspension and a $750 fine if your refusal is within five years of a previous DWI or DWAI offense.
      • A one-year license revocation and a $125 fine if you are under 21 years of age (pursuant to New York’s Zero Tolerance Law).

These penalties are in addition to the penalties you are sentenced with if you plead guilty or are found guilty of the following:

      • DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired) if your BAC is more than .05 percent but less than .08 percent
      • DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) if your BAC is between .08 percent and .18 percent
      • AGG-DWI (Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated) if your BAC is .18 percent or higher

What Happens if I Refuse a Chemical Test and I am Later Acquitted (Found not Guilty) of DWAI, DWI, or AGG-DWI?

Even if you are acquitted of DWAI, DWI, or AGG-DWI charges, unless your refusal charge is dismissed, you will still face the above penalties for your refusal to submit to a chemical test.

Contact an Experienced New York Lawyer

A lawyer can help to dismiss the charges against you, reduce a felony charge to a misdemeanor, or seek to minimize fines and imprisonment.

At Sayegh & Sayegh, our skilled defense lawyers in New York have had years of experience assisting drivers in Westchester, Rockland, Bronx, Dutchess, Putnam, Orange and Ulster counties.

Contact us at (914) 968-5800 to schedule a consultation today.