While you may not have read all the paperwork carefully when applying to get your driver’s license, it contains some important information. In the state of New York, when you sign to get your driver’s license, you also agree to the New York Implied Consent Law. What this means is that if you are pulled over under suspicion of driving while intoxicated, you must submit to a chemical test or face immediate penalties.
In New York, the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 percent. If you are over this limit, you may be charged with a per se offense and arrested for driving while intoxicated. An officer may pull you over at any time if they suspect that you are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Once a police officer pulls you over, implied consent laws give him or her the right to ask you to take a breath, blood, or urine test to determine your BAC.
If you refuse, you are violating the implied consent statute and you will be subject to penalties. However, the officer must inform you of these penalties by reading an implied consent warning.
Consequences of Violating Implied Consent Laws
If you refuse to take a chemical test when requested by an officer of the law, your license may be suspended for one year if this is your first refusal or 18 months if this is your second refusal. Commercial drivers, such as truck drivers, may have their license suspended for 18 months for their first refusal and can face permanent revocation of their license for a second refusal. Drivers under the legal drinking age of 21 may have their license suspended for one year.
You are subject to civil fines for refusing to take a chemical test. Fines can be up to $500 for a first refusal and $750 for a second refusal. These penalties can be applied even if you are not convicted of DWI in criminal court. Just refusing to take the test can result in these additional fines.
Furthermore, refusing to take a chemical test can be used against you in criminal courts as evidence of guilt. The prosecution will argue that you refused the test since you knew that you would fail because your BAC was above the legal limit. The only possible exception to this is if the arresting officer failed to read the implied consent warning to you. For these reasons, it is usually best to take the test, even if you suspect your BAC may be above legal limits.
If you are facing charges after refusing a chemical BAC test in Nassau County, you will need the help of an experienced attorney to develop your refusal case and fight any further DWI charges. Contact me, Jason Steinberger, at 718-585-2833 to discuss your options. I have years of experience as a DWI lawyer and can be contacted 24/7 for a free consultation.