Serving The Greater Rochester Area

Can I Refuse a Breath Test if I’m Pulled Over for DWI?

An officer must have probable cause to pull you over for driving while intoxicated (DWI). That is, the officer must have observed some type of behavior that suggested your driving was impaired. Often, behaviors such as failing to yield to road signs or weaving between lanes are enough for the officer to stop you. Upon pulling you over, the officer may request that you submit to a breath test to determine if there is alcohol in your system. You may not wish to take the test for many different reasons, and you can refuse the officer’s request. However, doing so could result in serious penalties.

Implied Consent Laws

New York operates under implied consent laws. This means that when you get your license and drive on public streets, you implicitly give your consent to submit to a breath test (or chemical testing) when law enforcement requests that you do so. If you refuse to take the test, you are violating traffic laws, which could result in license suspension for up to a year and a fine of up to $500.

Other Evidence Plays a Role in Charges and Convictions

Additionally, refusing a breath test doesn’t mean you can’t be charged with or convicted of a DWI. The prosecution’s case could be based on other pieces of evidence, such as the officer’s statement that you had bloodshot eyes and smelled of alcohol, or an eyewitness’s testimony that you were inebriated. Your refusal could also be presented as evidence of guilt.

A skilled attorney can build a case that challenges and weakens the prosecutor’s case. They could bring up various defenses against the officer’s statement; for instance, that your physical appearance at the time of the stop was because of an illness and not because of alcohol in your system. Even if you had submitted to the breath test, your attorney could question the accuracy of the results because improperly administered tests could come back with unreliable readings.

Your attorney might be able to get your charges reduced or dropped. However, if you refused the breath test, you will still face the penalties of your refusal, even if you weren’t convicted.

Choose King Law for Experienced Legal Defense

If you are facing DWI charges, contact King Law. Backed by years of experience, we know how to effectively handle these types of cases. When you retain the services of our skilled team, you can be confident you will have an attorney on your side committed to working toward a favorable result for you.

Call us at (585) 286-5124 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. We’re available 24/7 to take your call.

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