The United States Supreme Court has recently said that it will review state laws that criminalize refusing to take a blood alcohol test if the police officer doesn’t have a warrant. This December 11th announcement came after the Supreme Court took cases from both North Dakota and Minnesota to consider whether these laws are constitutional. People in opposition to these “implied consent” laws claim that they violate the 4th Amendment protection against unreasonable searches. The brief of the Minnesota case states that, if the laws are allowed to stand, it gives “greater constitutional protection to an arrestee’s pockets or handbag than to the arrestee’s body.” Those who support the laws contend that they are a reasonable way for states to discourage drunk driving. Thirteen states in the country currently have implied consent laws, New York being one of them.
What the law requires
The New York implied consent law states that, if you are arrested for DWI with probable cause, you automatically consent to taking some sort of chemical test to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC). The type of test administered is up to the arresting officer, but it may be a blood, breath, urine, or saliva test and it must be taken within 2 hours of the last time you were driving. You do have the right to request additional tests performed by your choice of medical professional, but only if you take the officer’s test first. If you were involved in an accident and the officer has reason to believe you were driving while intoxicated, you can be asked to take the breath test before your arrest. If that test shows that you have a BAC of above .08, you will be asked to take an additional chemical test.
Penalties for refusing sobriety tests
You can refuse to take these tests, and you cannot be forced to take them if you refuse, but refusal comes with penalties. If it is your first offense, your license will be suspended for a year and you will be asked to pay a $500 fine. If it is your second offense or beyond, or it is your first time refusing chemical tests but you have already been convicted of a DWI within the past five years, your license can be suspended for up to 18 months and you will be asked to pay a $750 fine. It is also important to note that, if the incident caused injury or death to someone else, the police can get a court order and require you to take the test. If you are found guilty of DWI, it could mean up to a year in jail time and a fine of up to $1,000 if it is your first offense.
Who to call
If you are concerned about what New York’s implied consent law means for you or have been charged with DWI, call Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria. Our DWI attorneys know your rights and have the legal understand to be able to find weaknesses in the charges against you. Contact us today to see how our top-tier criminal defense attorneys can help you.
This article does not purport to give legal advice and is for informational purposes only.