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Penalties for underage drinkers refusing a breath test

A previous post discussed the potential penalties for a DUI charge in New York. This post highlighted the severity of a DUI conviction, especially if a driver had previous convictions on his or her record. While drivers that are drinking age and above could face serious penalties for drinking and driving, those under the drinking age can also face serious consequences for getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. Moreover, if a driver under the age of 21 does not comply with any of the required blood alcohol tests or field sobriety tests, he or she could face additional penalties.

In the state of New York, when any driver refuses a blood alcohol content test, or BAC, that person will have their driver's license suspended at their arraignment in court, resulting in revocation for at least one year. If this is the driver's second offense, revocation will last for 18 months. In addition to a revoked license, the driver will be subject to a civil penalty of $500. If this is their second offense, the fine increase to $750.

In cases where the driver is under the age of 21, if he or she refuses to take a breath test or a blood test to test their BAC, under the zero tolerance rules of the state, the driver will be subject to a one year license revocation and a $125 fine. It should be noted that the fines associated with test refusal are separate from any fines and penalties related to any alcohol convictions.

A drunk driving charge alone could result in serious penalties, and a a breath test refusal or blood test refusal could result in additional penalties. Much like there are defense options available to those accused of an underage DWI, those facing charges for test refusal also have defense options. Whether it's suppressing evidence or proving an illegal stop, lack of probable cause or the improper collection of evidence, the accused have defense options available to them.

Source: Dmv.ny.gov, "You And The Drinking Driving Laws," accessed July 4, 2016

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