A driver’s right to refuse a chemical test and how it may impact a case

A driver who is stopped by a police officer and subsequently asked to submit to a Breathalyzer or chemical test may wrongly believe that he or she has no choice but to take the test. While New York State has an implied consent law which means that anyone who obtains a driver’s license consents to a chemical test, a driver can choose to refuse the test and, in many cases, doing so may be his or her best interest.

When compared against the penalties associated with drunk driving-related criminal charges, those associated with a chemical test refusal are far less punitive. It should be noted, however, that evidence detailing a driver’s refusal can be provided to the court and, regardless of the outcome of one’s case, a refusal signals an automatic driver’s license suspension of 12 months.

Losing one’s driver’s license, however, pales in comparison to the penalties that one may face if convicted of driving while intoxicated or impaired. Plus, often the courts will provide an individual with a conditional driver’s license which allows one to at least drive to and from work, school or necessary medical appointments.

For a recent news story on WIVB-TV, New York State prosecutors admitted that not having the results of a chemical test make it harder to win a DWI conviction. Without a hard number, prosecutors are forced to rely on the testimony of an arresting police officer and his or her observations at the time of a driver’s arrest.

Whether a driver refused or submitted to a chemical test, any individual who is facing DWI charges can benefit from the advice and legal representation of a defense attorney.

Source: WIVB-TV, “DWI Loophole: Breath test refusals cut into convictions,” Rose Ciotta and Luke Moretti, Nov. 4, 2015

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Glenn R. Bruno, Esq.

New York Defense Lawyer
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