Just because you're able to do something doesn't mean you should. Perhaps, you heard this saying when you were growing up, similar to the if-your-friends-jumped-off-a-cliff statement parents often make. There are many situations in life where you may have a right to do something, but you need to weigh the possible consequences of your choice before deciding what to do.
For instance, if you get pulled over in a traffic stop in New York, and a police officer asks you to step out of your car, you will likely need to make several decisions in the moments that follow.
Should you take a Breathalyzer test?
Generally speaking, if a police officer suspects you of drunk driving, he or she may ask you to submit to a Breathalyzer or other chemical test. It's crucial to remember that you do not have to submit to a breath test. However, you may also want to keep the following in mind:
- Zero tolerance under age 21: If you are not yet age 21and you test at .02 or higher on a breath test in New York, your license will likely be suspended for six months and you'll also face substantial fines.
- Implied consent: No matter what age you are, if you're a licensed driver in this state, you agree to take chemical tests any time police lawfully arrest you on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.
- Refusal consequences: If you do not submit to an officer's valid request to take a breath test, you may incur an automatic driver's license suspension for a full year. You may also get assessed a $500 fine as well.
The legal limit for alcohol in the bloodstream varies in certain circumstances, such as your age (as previously mentioned) or whether you were acting as a commercial vehicle driver when police pulled you over. If the court informs you at an arraignment that it is suspending your license due to test refusal, you typically have a certain amount of time to request a refusal hearing.
If you do, the arresting officer will need to prove that you actually did refuse to take the test and that his or her actions adhered to strict protocol in requesting and administering the test. An experienced New York defense attorney can advise you of your options in all matters related to drunk driving charges.