Refusing to Take a Breath Test or Blood Test Is a Crime
It is important to understand that there are a variety of tests that may be conducted if you are pulled over for DWI or DWAI.
At the time of the traffic stop, the police officer may request that you blow into a hand-held device called an Alco-Sensor. This request may be made after you have already taken a variety of field sobriety tests (FSTs) such as walking heel-to-toe. You may refuse this initial breath test without fear of serious penalties.
When you are arrested, you will be asked again to undergo a test to measure your blood alcohol content (BAC). This may be a blood test, a urine test, or a breath test (the Breathalyzer machine). At this point, if you refuse to take the test, you will be charged with the misdemeanor charge of chemical test refusal and subject to serious penalties associated with this crime. Depending on the situation, you may still end up being charged with DWI or DWAI.
Penalties for Chemical Test Refusal
At your arraignment, you will be required to turn over your New York State driver’s license, and your license will be suspended. If you have an out-of-state license, the court has no authority to take your license; however, it will suspend your privilege to drive in the state of New York pending your DMV chemical test refusal hearing.
The court will schedule a chemical test refusal hearing for you with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within 15 days. This hearing must be scheduled within 15 days of your arraignment or your license will be reinstated. This issue is separate and distinct from your criminal defense and is actually a civil proceeding, not a criminal one.
At Pappalardo & Pappalardo, LLP, our attorneys will represent you at your refusal hearing in front of a DMV administrative law judge. Loss at this hearing will result in the revocation of your license for at least one year. Our goal is to minimize the period of driver’s license suspension or prevent suspension entirely.
The financial penalties associated with the revocation of your license are also significant. Civil penalties and assessments from the DMV will total at least $1,250 should you be found to have refused to take the chemical test. These penalties and assessments are in addition to any fines imposed by the court if you are convicted of a DWI or DWAI. We are ready to help you avoid these penalties.