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What Happens If You Refuse a Breathalyzer?

What Happens If You Refuse a Breathalyzer?

Getting pulled over for suspected drunk driving can be a stressful experience. Law enforcement officers often rely on a series of tests to determine a driver’s level of impairment, and one of the most common assessments is the Breathalyzer test. This device measures the blood alcohol content (BAC) of the driver, providing crucial evidence in cases of DUI (Driving Under the Influence). However, you might be wondering, “What happens if I refuse a Breathalyzer test?” At the Law Office of Craig Bondy, we believe it’s important to know the potential legal and practical implications of refusing a Breathalyzer test during a traffic stop.

Understanding the Breathalyzer Test

Before diving into the consequences of refusing a Breathalyzer test, it’s essential to understand what this test entails. The Breathalyzer is a device used to estimate an individual’s BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) by analyzing their breath. Drivers are typically asked to blow into the device, which then produces a BAC reading. This reading is used as evidence of whether the driver is operating their vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In the state of New York, a BAC of .08 or higher is legal evidence of intoxication.

Refusing a Breathalyzer Test

When a law enforcement officer requests a driver to take a Breathalyzer test, they are required to comply with the law. However, some individuals may choose to refuse the test for various reasons, such as concerns about their rights, potential penalties, or inaccuracies in the test results.

Consequences of Refusing a Breathalyzer Test

The consequences of refusing a Breathalyzer test can vary depending on your jurisdiction and the circumstances of the traffic stop. Some potential outcomes include:

  • License Suspension: In many states, including New York, refusing a Breathalyzer test can lead to an automatic suspension of your driver’s license following a hearing.
  • Legal Penalties: Refusal might lead to additional legal penalties. These could include fines, mandatory alcohol education programs, or even jail time in some cases.
  • Adverse Inferences: Some jurisdictions allow prosecutors to present evidence of your refusal as an indication of guilt. This means that the jury or judge can consider your refusal when deciding on your DUI case.
  • Use of Other Evidence: Law enforcement may still gather other evidence during a DUI investigation, such as field sobriety tests, observations, or the driver’s behavior. Even without a BAC reading, this evidence could be used against you in court.
  • Mandatory Testing: In some cases, law enforcement can obtain a search warrant to draw a blood sample without your consent if you refuse a Breathalyzer test.

What Happens If You Refuse a Breathalyzer

Know Your Rights During a Breathalyzer Test

If you’re pulled over by law enforcement and asked to take a Breathalyzer test, it’s important to understand your rights in this situation. While laws and regulations can vary by jurisdiction, there are some common rights and principles that typically apply during a Breathalyzer test:

Right to Refuse

In most jurisdictions, you have the right to refuse a Breathalyzer test. However, as mentioned above, refusing the test often comes with its own set of consequences, such as potential license suspension and legal penalties.

Right to Legal Representation

You have the right to consult with an attorney before deciding whether to take the test. If you’re uncertain about your decision, seek legal advice promptly. However, it’s crucial to understand that these tests often need to be conducted promptly, and delaying the process to consult an attorney could result in a refusal.

Informed Consent

Law enforcement officers should inform you about the consequences of refusing a Breathalyzer test. This typically includes explaining the potential penalties, such as license suspension.

Right to Remain Silent

You have the right to remain silent during the testing process. You’re not obligated to provide additional information or explanations.

Accuracy and Calibration

You have the right to inquire about the accuracy and calibration of the Breathalyzer device. If you believe the device might not be functioning correctly, it’s essential to voice your concerns.

Third-Party Witnesses

You may have the right to request a third-party witness to observe the testing process. However, this can vary by jurisdiction.

Legal Advice

It’s often advisable to seek legal counsel after taking a Breathalyzer test. An attorney can help you understand the potential consequences and options based on the test results.

Remember that asserting your rights should be done respectfully and without aggression. It’s generally a good idea to cooperate with law enforcement officers while also protecting your legal interests. If you believe your rights were violated during a Breathalyzer test or DUI stop, consult with an experienced attorney at The Law Office of Craig Bondy. We can provide guidance based on the circumstances of your case and the laws in your jurisdiction.

Why Choose The Law Office of Craig Bondy?

Since 1986, Mr. Bondy has diligently and successfully handled traffic court cases in the Tri-State Area. Dealing with a potential DWI case feels isolating and stressful, but at The Law Office of Craig Bondy, you’re not alone. We offer experienced legal advice tailored to your case that protects your rights. Here’s more about how our legal team can help you.

Legal Knowledge and Expertise

Navigating the intricacies of New York DWI laws can be complex. Our attorneys are well-versed in all aspects of DWI defense, ensuring you’re always represented by someone who understands the nuances of the law and how it applies to your case.

Representation in Court

A court hearing follows a refusal of a Breathalyzer test, and being in court can be intimidating. Our team will be by your side at all court appearances, advocating for your rights, and presenting a strong defense on your behalf.

Protecting Your Rights

From the moment of being pulled over to the resolution of your case, we’ll ensure your rights are upheld. This includes ensuring that any evidence obtained unlawfully is not used against you and that you’re treated fairly throughout the process.

Informing You of Your Options

We’ll provide you with a clear understanding of your situation, potential consequences, and available options so you can make informed decisions.

License Issues

A DWI charge can result in the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license. We can guide you through the DMV process, advise you on the implications for your license, and potentially help you obtain conditional driving privileges.

Post-Conviction Support

Even if you’re convicted, our support doesn’t end. We can advise on the process of regaining your license, attending mandated programs, or even seeking to expunge or seal your record down the line.

Personalized Approach

Every DWI case is unique. At The Law Office of Craig Bondy, we provide a tailored approach, ensuring that your individual needs and circumstances are always at the forefront of our strategy.


Can I avoid a DUI charge by refusing a Breathalyzer test?

Refusing a Breathalyzer doesn’t guarantee avoiding a DUI arrest. Law enforcement may use other evidence to establish probable cause for arrest, such as your behavior or field sobriety test results.

What is the Implied Consent law?

Under New York’s “Implied Consent” law, when you drive a car in this state you are considered to have already given your consent to take chemical tests to measure your BAC.

Does refusal to take a Breathalyzer affect my DUI case?

It can affect your DUI case in several ways. While it limits the direct evidence of your BAC, other evidence, like officer observations, can still be used. An experienced attorney may adapt your defense strategy accordingly.

Are there situations where refusing a Breathalyzer is recommended?

While each case is unique, refusing a Breathalyzer is generally not recommended. In most cases, cooperation and understanding your rights is advisable. Consult with an attorney to make an informed decision based on your circumstances.

How can an attorney help if I’ve refused a Breathalyzer test?

A DUI attorney can assess the evidence against you, challenge the legality of the stop, and explore potential defenses. They can also help you understand the consequences of refusing a Breathalyzer in your jurisdiction and navigate the legal process effectively.

Protect Your Rights Today with The Law Offices of Craig Bondy

Getting a DWI ticket in New York is a serious matter. Put your rights first by contacting The Law Offices of Craig Bondy. By working closely with a knowledgeable attorney, you can best navigate the legal system and protect your rights.

For a free no-obligation initial consultation and ticket evaluation from skilled defense lawyer Craig Bondy, call 212-257-8321 or stay online to send an email message. Hablamos Español.




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