New York Breathalyzer Refusal

So you’ve had a night out on State Street, had one too many at your buddy’s wedding, or you’re driving home after watching the New York Giants get trounced by the Cowboys. On your way home, panic strikes when your rearview mirror lights up like a Christmas tree.
Getting pulled over in Broome, Tioga, Chenango, Chemung or Tompkins County is a scary ordeal under normal circumstances. But when you’ve been pulled over when drinking, your life can quite literally flash before your eyes.
When the officer makes the walk to your vehicle, it could seem like an eternity. You now are faced with the monumental decision to submit to a breathalyzer test. “Unless you are really, really plowed, you should take the test”, says DWI attorney Chris Brown. Himself a former prosecutor, he notes that refusing a breathalyzer only makes sense when your Blood Alcohol Content is so high that it triggers an Aggravated DWI charge.
An aggravated DWI arises from of a BAC of .18% or more and carries stiffer penalties than a standard DWI. This more serious crime also has different plea-bargaining restrictions than a regular DWI. “If you suspect you are going to blow twice the legal limit, your refusal could be favorable, from a criminal standpoint, but that has to be weighed against the driving restrictions that will almost certainly follow”, Brown admonishes drivers that find themselves in this perilous roadside situation.
That’s because in New York, the punishment for refusing a breathalyzer can be just as harsh as actually driving drunk. New York was the first state to adopt a law against drinking and driving in 1910, so it should come as no surprise that it has one of the toughest set of driving restrictions if you refuse to blow. When you refuse a breathalyzer for the first time, your license will be suspended for a year or 18 months if you have a CDL license.

Why the summary justice? When you get your license, you essentially are entering into “implied consent” with the State, meaning you acquiesce to a breathalyzer in exchange for your privileges to drive. If you are the cerebral type, you can learn more about this term here.
Many clients that come into our Endicott office erroneously believe that just because they refused the breathalyzer, they will escape criminal charges. In realty, a breathalyzer test is one of many ways an officer can arrive at the conclusion you are drunk.
Whether it is the smell of alcoholic beverages, slurred speech, failing a battery of field sobriety tests, or other behavior suggestive of alcohol use, the arresting officers can make the case in open court that you were driving while intoxicated. Our responsibility at Noonan Brown Law is to evaluate the unique circumstances, determine the strengths and weaknesses of the prosecution, and formulate a defense accordingly.
If you refuse the breathalyzer, the local Judge will suspend your license for up to fourteen days at your arraignment and will direct you to attend a DMV refusal hearing, so bring along a driver when you show up to Court the first time. The DWI attorneys at Noonan Brown will appear with you in front of an Administrative Law Judge at the DMV Refusal Hearing, a subject we will reserve for the next post.
If this seems like an intimidating process, it’s because it is. With so many life-changing consequences, you will need the most aggressive DWI attorneys that aren’t afraid to take an aggressive stance in your case. The experienced DWI lawyers at Noonan Brown Law will fight for the most favorable outcome of your drunk driving charge. 


Brett Noonan, Esq. and Chris Brown, Esq. The Binghamton Barristers

Noonan Brown Law is a full service law firm that represents clients across a wide spectrum of troublesome legal issues throughout the Southern Tier. For informed advice and to explore your legal options, contact us today.

607 953 6367

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The Binghamton Barristers

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