Drivers in New York who are stopped by law enforcement and asked to take field sobriety tests or submit to a chemical test will often be confused as to what their rights are. Many might be under the impression that refusing a breath test or declining to take part in field sobriety tests falls under their legal rights. This is a mistake.
When a person has a driver’s license, they give implied consent to take part in these tests when asked to do so by a law enforcement officer. The goal of the breath test is to determine the blood-alcohol content. If a driver refuses, this can have serious consequences, even if the person was not legally under the influence at the time. To defend against these charges, legal help is imperative.
When the traffic stop is made, a field sobriety test might be requested by the officer. That can include a breath test. Refusing the breath test will lead to a driver’s license suspension when the person is arraigned. It will last for a minimum of one year. If there is a second offense of refusing a breath test, the suspension will be for 18 months.
Drivers under the age of 21 will face even harsher penalties. Since they are legally not allowed to drink at all, there is what is known as a “Zero Tolerance Law.” A driver’s license will be revoked for one year and there will be a penalty of $125. These are not linked to the punishments for a person being convicted of actual drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs. It is important to remember this point.
Since facing drunk driving charges can be compounded by refusing a breath test, it is vital for a person who is dealing with the allegations to have a strong legal defense to try and avoid the harshest penalties. A law firm that understands all aspects of drunk driving law including refusal and underage DUI can help with formulating a defense and perhaps keep the person from losing their driving privileges. A lawyer is key to a case and should be contacted immediately.