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Should I Take a Chemical Breath Test after a New York DWI Arrest

There are significant ramifications after one is charged or convicted of a New York DWI criminal offense. These cases can impact a person’s rights in many ways, including, fines, surcharges, loss of driving privileges, probation and jail and pose serious reputational, financial, and familial issues. Individuals who face these charges should consult with an attorney to discuss their rights and defenses.

New York Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL), provides that individuals stopped by police for suspicion of driving while ability impaired by drugs (DWAI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) will be asked to submit to a chemical test to determine the content of alcohol in their blood, breath or urine. These tests typically involve both a field breath test and a chemical breath test at a police station. The law allows motorists to refuse these tests, however, if they are arrested and refuse a properly requested chemical test their driver’s license will be immediately suspended and if after a hearing an Administrative law Judge finds that a properly requested breath test was refused, DMV will revoke the driver’s license for a minimum of 1 year.  Drivers who have been stopped or accused of DWI often struggle to decide if they should comply with a test, and if so, which one.

New York state law breath analysis tools measure an individual’s blood alcohol content (BAC) and must be approved by the state’s Department of Health. The breathalyzer an officer uses must be on the approved list of devices, however, these devices like any other instrument may be prone to defects.

Law enforcement must provide individuals with a chemical test refusal warning before administering the test. The warning advises motorists that they have been arrested and asks them whether they will take a test. If the accused agrees, they will take the test, if not, the police must give a detailed warning. A refusal may be used against the motorist at trial if the police followed the proper procedures while issuing the refusal warnings and allowing access to an attorney.

For example, recently, the Supreme Court of the State of New York issued an opinion stemming from a felony aggravated driving while intoxicated charge. In that case, the defendant motioned the court to suppress his statements and evidence discovered by the police. The appellate court found that the trial court conflated the administration of the tests when determining that suppression was warranted. However, they found that it was unclear whether the police officer complied with the VTL section that provides that he must provide the defendant with a “clear and unequivocal” warning of the consequences of refusal. The Court ultimately remitted the matter for a new hearing to address the suppression of chemical breath test results.

Have You Been Arrested for Driving While Impaired in New York?

If you or someone you know has been charged with a New York DWI offense, contact the Tilem Law Firm for assistance. There are significant penalties for those charged with New York DWIs. Individuals may face hefty fines, penalties, and jail time. While DWI charges may seem straightforward, there is almost always a defense or route to mitigate jail time and fines. The attorneys at our law firm have extensive experience successfully defending clients facing charges related to DWI, homicides, theft, weapons offenses, and sex crimes. Contact our office at 877-377-8666, to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney on our legal team.

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