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What happens if I refuse to take a breathalyzer in New York?
Think twice if you are pulled over on suspicion of driving while intoxicated - breathalyzer refusal in New York can have serious consequences. There are real reasons why you may want to refuse to submit to a breathalyzer or a chemical blood alcohol test but you should be aware of what happens if you refuse.
New York State has an implied consent law which basically states that driving is a privilege, not a right, and that when you were given your drivers license you agreed in advance to submit to any requested testing of your breath, blood or urine if you are ever pulled over on suspicion of DWI.
If you refuse to submit to the requested testing the DMV will fully suspend your license for a minimum of one year, with no chance for a conditional license that would allow you to drive to and from work. This is an automatic suspension based solely on your refusal to take the test.
If you go to trial, the fact that you refused to take the test will be allowed to be introduced as evidence called "consciousness of guilt" meaning it will be implied that you refused the breathalyzer because you knew you would fail it.
Even without the results of a breathalyzer test the law enforcement officer can still arrest you for DWI, and should you subsequently win your DWI case the license suspension would not be affected and your license will remain suspended for the full amount of time left. In New York, if you refuse a breathalyzer test more than once in five years you are subject to an automatic license suspension of at least 18 months.
Contact an attorney who is experienced with defending against DWI charges and helping clients who have refused to take a breathalyzer. Your attorney will know how to challenge the validity of the evidence and even whether there was probable cause for you to be pulled over in the first place.
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