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What are the penalties for a breath test refusal in New York?

A New York driver convicted of a DWI charge will face serious penalties including fines, license suspension and other consequences. But motorists who fail to comply with the instructions of the officers at the traffic stop could also face penalties regardless of whether they are ultimately convicted of a DWI. If a driver refuses to submit to field sobriety tests or a blood alcohol concentration test, he or she could be subject to penalties.

What are the penalties for a breath test refusal? According to New York law, after an officer asks a driver to submit to a chemical test to detect the presence of alcohol in the bloodstream and informs the driver that his or her license will be immediately suspended if the test is refused, the license shall be revoked following a refusal.

The penalties associated with refusal to submit to a breath test remain regardless of the charges or convictions that follow. And prosecutors can still bring DWI charges without a breath test, and use the refusal as evidence of guilt.

A test refusal results in an automatic license revocation. On the other hand, if a driver takes the test and fails, they may be able to get a restricted license. A driver who has refused the test is ineligible for a restricted license.

A DWI arrest will impact a driver's privilege to operate a motor vehicle. Drivers accused of a DWI have the right to fight the charges, and the right to an attorney to protect their rights and interests in the matter.

Source: Safetyny.ny.gov, "NYS Vehicle & Traffic Law Excerpts," accessed Oct. 16, 2016

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