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Can I refuse a blood alcohol test in New York?

On Behalf of | Aug 4, 2021 | Criminal Law

If you’ve been drinking and are stopped by the police, they may question you and ask you to give them a breath sample. New York is an implied consent state, which means that you have accepted that you will allow a chemical test upon request in order to maintain your license.

Refusing to take a Breathalyzer test or other blood alcohol test does not reflect well on you as a driver. If the offier has reasonable grounds to believe that you were driving while impaired, then they can ask you to give a breath, blood, saliva or urine sample to test your blood alcohol concentration. The test could be used against you in court, which is why some people wish to refuse.

Refusing a blood alcohol test

While it’s frowned upon and there may be consequences, you can refuse to submit to chemical testing. The officer will usually need a warrant from a judge to force you to submit to testing. According to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles, refusing to take a chemical test is an office that results in:

  • A $500 civil penalty ($550 if you are a commercial driver)
  • A revocation of your license for a year, which is extended to 18 months for commercial drivers

If you refuse the test, the officer may arrest you or put in a request for a warrant to take the test against your wishes.

Chemical test refusals don’t prove or eliminate guilt

Chemical test refusals are handled separately from determining if you were driving under the influence. You already gave consent to take a chemical test when accepting your license due to the state’s implied consent laws, but refusing the test after being arrested won’t prove that you were impaired. Instead, you may lose your license even if you end up being found not guilty of drug- or alcohol-related violations.

Normally, it’s not a good idea to refuse the chemical test, because it has negative implications for your case. If you have refused, it’s smart to look into your legal options and to determine how to best defend yourself.