Can I Refuse a BAC Test in New York?

New York, like all other states, has an implied consent law, which means that all drivers make an implicit agreement when they get behind the wheel to take a chemical test if arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI). The test, which is usually done on a suspected driver’s breath, blood, urine, or saliva, is then used to measure the amount of alcohol or drugs that are in his or her system. To ensure that drivers comply with these laws, the state has instituted serious penalties for those who refuse to take chemical tests.

Refusing a Breathalyzer in New York

Chemical Tests

In 2016, the Supreme Court held that laws criminalizing the refusal to take a blood test were unconstitutional. However, the Court also stated that criminalizing a refusal to take a breath test remained permissible. For this reason, in New York, chemical test refusal is still considered a separate offense from a DWI. This means that if a police officer has probable cause to believe that someone was driving while intoxicated and that person refuses a chemical test, the driver faces penalties in addition to those assessed for a DWI. Additionally, the fact that a person did not submit to a BAC test can also be used by the prosecutor as evidence of a defendant’s guilt. However, law enforcement officers do have some restrictions, including that they cannot force a person to undergo a test and they must administer the BAC test within two hours of detainment.

Penalties for Test Refusal

Refusing a chemical test is punishable by a one year license revocation and a $500 civil penalty. These penalties are separate and distinct from the license suspension or revocation resulting from a DWI, which means that in some cases, the suspension/revocation periods will not overlap, but will instead run consecutively. Those who are convicted of a second offense within five years of the previous refusal or another DWI-related charge are required to pay a $750 fine and will have their license revoked for at least 18 months. Finally, anyone convicted of refusing a chemical test must also pay a minimum $250 annual fine for three years as part of New York’s Driver Responsibility Program.

In New York, drivers who are under the age of 21 years old who are arrested for a DWI and refuse a chemical test also face serious consequences, including:

  • A $300 fine and a license revocation for at least one year for a first offense; and
  • A $750 fine and a license revocation for at least one year for subsequent offenses.

Contact us Today to Speak With an Experienced New York Criminal Defense Attorney

Refusing to submit to a BAC test can have serious consequences for drivers, including heavy penalties and license revocation. This is true even if a person is not actually convicted of a DWI, so if you were recently arrested for driving while intoxicated, please contact the Law Offices of George Vomvolakis and we’ll help you schedule a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can address your questions and concerns.