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Attorney Bryan E. Cameron

What are the consequences of refusing a breath test?

On Behalf of | Oct 17, 2022 | DUI

Getting arrested for DUI is one of the most traumatic things that could happen to a New Yorker. If you are pulled over by a police officer and asked to take a breath test, you might refuse. However, what happens in this situation?

Refusing to take a breath test

New York considered driving a privilege, not a right. As a result, if you’re pulled over by a police officer on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI), the officer might ask you to take a breathalyzer test to measure your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Although you have the right to refuse, you might wonder if it’s worth going that route.

The state has what’s known as implied consent laws. This means that if you get behind the wheel, you are expected to submit to a breath test if you are pulled over on suspicion of impairment while driving.

Consequences for refusing to submit to a breath test

Because of the implied consent laws, if you refuse to take a breath test to show your BAC level, your driver’s license can automatically be suspended. This might last anywhere from six months to one year. You can also expect to pay a fine of a maximum of $500. These penalties come just for refusing to take a breathalyzer and don’t even account for those you might face if you are convicted of DUI.

If you are charged with DUI and your license is suspended, you might be able to obtain a temporary license that allows you to drive to work and back home. However, if you refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test, you won’t get that opportunity.

Why you should take a breath test

If you refuse a breath test and face DUI charges, the fact that you refused could be used against you during your trial. In some cases, taking the test is better because you have a chance to potentially use it as a defense. Breathalyzers aren’t always accurate, so their results could be challenged.

Not taking a breath test is commonly viewed as an admission of guilt, but if you’re driving, you’re better off avoiding alcohol.