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Attorney Bryan E. Cameron

Knowing what to expect if you refuse to take a breath test

On Behalf of | Oct 16, 2023 | Criminal defense, DUI

If you are like many New York drivers, you pride yourself on being safe and responsible behind the wheel. However, getting pulled over by police and being asked to take a breath test can throw anyone for a loop. This is what can happen if you refuse to submit to this testing.

Understanding breath tests

Police officers often pull drivers over when they suspect them of driving while intoxicated (DWI) and ask them to submit to a breathalyzer test. This is a device that requires the individual to blow into so that it can measure the level of alcohol in their breath and produce a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) amount. If a driver agrees to the test and their BAC is determined to be 0.08% or higher, they can be arrested and charged with DUI or DWI.

Refusing a breath test

In some cases, a person may choose to refuse to submit to a breath test. Although it’s your right to do so, there are consequences you can face in that situation. New York has implied consent laws, which mean that if you hold a driver’s license and drive on the state’s roads, you acknowledge that you will submit to breath tests if a police officer has reason to believe you’re intoxicated or impaired. Taking a breath test is considered a condition of driving in the state.

If you refuse to take a breath test, it’s considered a civil offense, which means you could be fined $500. However, if you’ve had a prior DWI within the past five years, the fine is elevated to $750. Your driver’s license is revoked for a year for a first offense or for at least 18 months if you have a prior DWI within the past five years. A reinstatement fee is $100 and a driver responsibility assessment fee is $250 per year for three years.

You can also face other consequences; your daily life could be impacted by a DWI charge.

No one expects to be pulled over by the police and asked to take a breathalyzer. If you know you’re not intoxicated, it’s in your best interest to submit.