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Consequences of Refusing a Breath Test in New York

Being convicted of a DUI/DWI can lead to harsh legal penalties. First-time offenders in New York State can receive up to a year of jail time, a $1,000 maximum fine, and a suspension of driver’s license for at least 6 months. Due to this, refusing the initial breath test may seem like an appealing option for a driver facing a DUI/DWI conviction. However, the consequences for refusing a breath test can easily make matters worse for the offender, and will rarely make the situation better.

Penalties for Refusing the Test

If you refuse a breath test, there is one thing that you can be almost 100% sure of: you will lose your license. Like many other states, New York has an implied consent law, which means that not only will the driver lose his or her license, but he or she will also be required to pay a $500 fee for first-time refusal. Second-time refusals will result in an 18-month driver’s license suspension and a $750 fine. Additionally, it is important to note that while police officers are required to inform drivers that they will lose their licenses for refusing breath tests, they are not required to inform the drivers of the fines. However, the fine will definitely be charged, and these penalties will be on top of any penalties caused by the potential DUI/DWI conviction.

These consequences are nearly impossible to avoid. The only way that a driver can avoid losing his or her license due to refusal of a breath test is if the police officer that pulled the driver over does not appear at Department of Motor Vehicle court dates. However, police officers are often amply compensated by the police department for attendance at court dates, so the likelihood of this occurring is not high. Additionally, refusing a breath test will likely be used by the prosecutor as an indication of guilt.

Why You Should Probably Take the Breath Test

Ultimately, submitting to a breath test is more practical than a refusal, even if the driver knows that he or she will fail the test. While a DUI/DWI conviction will also lead to a suspension of the driver’s license, it is possible to obtain a restricted license that will allow a driver to commute to and from work, as well as to and from other necessary tasks. However, this is only possible if the driver submitted to the breath test, not if he or she refused.

If you have been charged with a DUI/DWI, it is important to receive legal counsel. There are ways in which a knowledgeable DUI/DWI attorney can help lessen your penalties, especially when it comes to questions concerning the arresting officer’s probable cause, as well as navigating the different options available to a defendant.

Contact Us Today

If you are living in the Bronx and you have been charged with a DUI/DWI, call me, Jason Steinberger, at 718-585-2833. I can be reached anytime to discuss your case, and you can receive a consultation, free of charge. I pride myself on informing citizens of their legal rights and look forward to explaining your options to you.

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