When drivers in New York and most other states get their licenses, they implicitly agree to submit to testing if they are ever pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence. Known as implied consent, this law requires drivers to take part in chemical testing to determine if they are, in fact, intoxicated or otherwise under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These chemical tests range from breath tests to the testing of blood, saliva or urine. However, what happens when a driver refuses to submit to these tests?
If one is stopped for suspicion of drunk driving, the officers have probable cause that the driver is acting unlawfully. In many cases, officers will require the driver to submit to a breath test at the time of the traffic stop. Although a driver can refuse to submit to this breath test, doing so will still result in severe consequences. First-time offenders will face a $500 fine and lose their licenses for one year, and the penalties increase to $750 and an 18-month suspension for those who have refused testing two or more times or those who have had previous DWI convictions.
Although it will be harder for the prosecution to obtain a conviction without a driver’s test results, the prosecution can still use the fact that the driver refused testing against the accused driver in court. Furthermore, in cases where the intoxicated driver caused an accident in which someone was injured or killed, the court could impose an order to allow authorities to obtain samples of that driver’s bodily fluids in order to determine his or her blood alcohol level.
No matter the circumstances, being stopped and arrested for driving under the influence is a serious matter. Whether or not a driver adheres to the implied consent law, the consequences of the charges and possible conviction can adversely affect the rest of a person’s life. With so much at stake, anyone in such a situation would need to retain the services of an experienced DUI attorney who can protect a client’s rights and ensure a fair hearing.