How you can lose your driver’s license even if you’re not convicted of DWI

When facing a possible drunk driving conviction, an individual would be wise to seek the advice and assistance of an attorney. Like many criminal defense matters, the legal requirements related to prosecuting a DWI case are more complex than many people realize and there are a number of facts and factors that may either negatively or positively impact one’s case.

For example, a police officer cannot just randomly pull a driver over without having just cause to do so. A legal principle known as reasonable suspicion centers on the fact that a police officer must have a good reason to pull a driver over. For example, in cases where a police officer notices that a driver’s vehicle is drifting into an adjacent traffic lane, straddling the center line, traveling too slow or fast or braking frequently; such activities would likely warrant a traffic stop.

If a stopped driver is subsequently believed by a police officer to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, an officer may request that a driver submit to a series of field sobriety tests. Based upon the results of these tests, an officer may or may not then have probable cause to arrest and change a driver with DWI.

When asked to submit to a field sobriety and/or Breathalyzer test, a driver has the right to refuse such a test. Under New York’s drunk driving laws, a driver who is suspected of drunk driving and refuses to submit to a breath, urine or blood chemical test is subject to a civil penalty in the amount of $500. Additionally, a refusal will result in a driver losing his or her driver’s license for at least 12 months. The penalties increase with subsequent chemical test refusals that occur within a five-year timeframe.

While the penalties related to a chemical test refusal may seem harsh, in some cases, refusing to take a breath, urine or blood test may actually be in a driver’s best interest. Therefore, in the event a driver is pulled over in a routine traffic stop, he or she should never feel pressured or forced into submitting to any other these tests.

Source:, “What is Reasonable Suspicion for a DUI Stop?,” Feb. 1, 2016

New York State, “Penalties for alcohol or drug-related violations,” Feb. 1, 2016

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Glenn R. Bruno, Esq.

New York Defense Lawyer
Attorney Advertising. This website is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Prior results do not guarantee outcome.
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