By operating a motor vehicle on a New York roadway, you have impliedly agreed to submit to blood alcohol content tests of your breath, urine, saliva or blood for purposes of determining any alcohol or drug content when you’re asked to do so by a police officer. He or she only needs probable cause to believe that you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Implied consent also applies to portable breath testing at the site of a DWI stop.
Probable cause for blood alcohol content testing
Most DWI arresting officers will routinely testify that upon initially speaking to the defendant, he or she had slurred speech, red bloodshot eyes and had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on their breath. Those factors caused the investigating officer to suspect that the driver might be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. By displaying those possible effects of intoxication, the officer will then ask the driver to perform certain preliminary alcohol screening tests, otherwise known as roadside or field sobriety tests. Those tests might vary from precinct to precinct or even from officer to officer, but they ordinarily consist of:
Field sobriety and breathalyzer tests can be refused
If a driver has consumed alcohol before getting behind the wheel, it’s highly likely that submitting to any one of these tests will establish probable cause for a DWI arrest. He or she is also giving the prosecution more evidence to convict them with. Submitting to roadside or field sobriety tests isn’t mandatory.
Consequences of refusal
Regardless of whether a person submits to roadside tests and fails or refuses to perform them, there will be consequences. One of those consequences is a driver’s license revocation. The law allows you a hearing on this revocation with an administrative law judge from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), but the suspension can stand, even if you’re found not guilty of the DWI in criminal court. Another consequence is that a refusal of breath testing at the police station can be used against you in a DUI trial when consciousness of guilt can be argued as a basis for the refusal.
The search warrant to draw blood
The next consequence is that the driver is taken to the local police station for what’s commonly called a breathalyzer test. The vehicle that was driven must be towed from the scene, and he or she is responsible for towing and storage charges. If the driver refuses the breath test at the station, the investigating officer can seek a search warrant from a judge to have blood drawn from the driver’s body for purposes of alcohol content analysis. The driver is also confronted with an immediate driver’s license suspension.
If you’re stopped on suspicion of DWI, no investigating officer is going to tell you that you have the right to refuse field sobriety tests and breathalyzer testing at the police station. Difficult snap decisions have to be made on whether to submit to these tests, and any decision is likely to have its own independent consequences. If you cooperate and take all of the tests, you’re probably giving the prosecution additional evidence to convict you with. If you refuse them, you face punishment anyway, and the refusal can be used against you in a DWI trial.
The decision that’s easy to make is to contact our law firm for your DWI defense. With the criminal DWI case and the DMV revocation cases pending, you’ll want to protect your rights by retaining a knowledgeable, respected and highly trained DWI defense attorney to represent you. Contact us right after any DWI arrest. The consequences of not contacting us are just too severe.
Todd is a miracle worker who will work tirelessly for you and your family. He is one of the few attorneys i've met - who I earnestly trust to protect me, and who I am happy to refer to our friends and fellow family members. The Spodek Law Group is someone you want on your side, because they will treat you just like family. Todd and his team are available 24/7, and they always answered our calls. Even when we were being irrational, and crazy - they were calm and super helpful. Just call Todd. He gives you a free consultation and is very understanding.- Donna & Robert
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