call us646-580-6675

Manhattan Office  |  Westchester Office

Should I Agree to a BAC Test if an Officer Pulls Me Over in New York?

 Posted on January 26, 2021 in Criminal Defense

NYC DWI defense attorneyIf you are pulled over by a law enforcement officer under suspicion of driving while intoxicated (DWI) or any other traffic violation, you are protected by certain constitutional rights. For example, you are not required to consent to a search of your vehicle if the officer does not have a warrant, and you are not required to answer an officer's questions in a way that could implicate you or be used against you in a legal proceeding. However, under New York’s implied consent law, you are required to submit to an officer’s request for you to undergo a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test, or else face consequences related to your driver’s license.

Understanding Implied Consent in New York

In the State of New York, drivers are considered to have given “implied consent” to a chemical test in the event that they are arrested for DWI. Often, this testing consists of an initial breath test in the field, and it may be followed by an additional test of the driver’s blood, urine, or saliva once the driver is brought to a police station. Under New York law, the legal BAC limit is 0.08 in most circumstances, and a test result above this number can be used as evidence in support of a DWI conviction.

You may think that refusing a chemical test will prevent an officer from obtaining the evidence necessary to place you under arrest, but this is not necessarily the case. If, upon observing your behavior, the officer has a reasonable suspicion that you are under the influence of alcohol, you may still be arrested even without BAC test results.

Additionally, refusing a chemical test has serious consequences. The first time you refuse a BAC test, your driver’s license can be immediately suspended at your arraignment and may be subsequently revoked at a DMV hearing for at least a year, and you can be assessed a $500 fine by the DMV, even if you are not ultimately convicted of DWI in your criminal case. A second refusal within five years of a prior refusal or DWI conviction can result in revocation for at least 18 months and a fine of $750. The penalties are even more severe for commercial driver’s license holders, as their CDL can be permanently revoked after more than one refusal of a chemical test within five years.

Contact a New York DWI Defense Attorney

If you wish to avoid these penalties, it is often best to submit to BAC testing and work with an attorney who can help you build a strong defense with the goal of avoiding conviction. At the Law Firm of Gregory J. Watford, Esq. PLLC, we can help you pursue defense strategies that may include demonstrating an unreliable chemical test or impropriety in your arrest. Contact a New York City DWI defense lawyer today at 646-580-6675.



Share this post:
Back to Top