I WAS PULLED OVER AFTER DRINKING- SHOULD I SUBMIT TO A BREATH TEST?
If you are pulled over for a DWI in New York State, the law enforcement officer will likely ask you to submit to some sort of test to determine what your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is. Such tests can be breath, urine, or blood tests. While it is generally advisable to submit to a police officer’s lawful orders, there are pros and cons to agreeing to such a test.
THE CONSEQUENCES OF REFUSING A TEST
Refusing to submit to a test can result in significant penalties in New York, including a license suspension. A refusal can also be used against you during a trial as evidence of guilt, in that a jury will be allowed to make the inference that you refused the test because you knew that you were too intoxicated to drive.
If you submit to the test, however, you will be providing the police and prosecutor with evidence of your blood alcohol content (BAC), which could help them obtain a conviction. An experienced DWI attorney can challenge the results of the breath test on grounds that the instrument was inaccurate to a certain degree, or that the test was not administered properly. Similar challenges may be made involving a blood or urine test.
WHAT ABOUT A ROADSIDE BREATH TEST?
An important caveat may be made here about a roadside “pre-screen” test. An officer may ask you to submit to a breath test via a small hand-help instrument roadside at the time of the stop. While such “pre-screen” tests may be used to add to the officer’s probable cause to arrest you, the result of the test is not admissible at trial.
SO WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Ultimately the decision to submit to the breath test or not depends on the individual circumstances of your case. Some people may feel that the consequences of refusing the test, namely the immediate suspension of their license, are not worth the hassle. Generally speaking, however, if you know that your BAC is likely well over the legal limit, it is advisable to limit the evidence you provide to the investigating officer.
EACH CASE IS DIFFERENT- TALK TO AN EXPERT
A DWI arrest can be one of the most stressful events in a person’s life. Whether you submitted to a test or not, an experienced DWI lawyer can help guide you through what comes next. Our attorneys have handled hundreds of DWI cases for clients in the Rochester, NY area. Give us a call for a free consultation!