If you have been arrested with a DWI in New York, are you required to take a chemical test? Although technically you don’t, refusal to do so will have severe consequences due to the state’s “implied consent” laws.
What is Implied Consent?
New York’s implied consent laws require any licensed drivers to submit to chemical testing—a breath, blood, urine, or saliva test—for the purpose of determining the amount of alcohol or drugs in the driver’s body. Therefore, you automatically provide consent to a chemical test simply by driving in the state.
These chemical tests are typically taken at the police station following a DWI arrest. The officer decides which test the driver must take. Once the driver submits the test, he or she has the right to arrange for an additional test to be done by a doctor of his or her choosing.
Additionally, the state’s implied consent laws also require drivers to submit to pre-arrest “breath tests,” generally known as “portable breath tests” (PBTs). These tests are often administered when there is probable cause of drunk driving.
Penalties for Reusing a Chemical Test After a DWI Arrest
If you are lawfully arrested for a DWI and refuse to submit to a BAC test, you will be subjected to license suspensions and civil fines. Keep in mind, the penalties for refusing to take a chemical test are separate from the standard penalties for DWI.
Refusing a chemical test for the first time results in your driver’s license automatically being suspended for a year and a $500 fine. If it is your second or subsequent offense, or it is your first time refusing a chemical test but you have been convicted of a DWI within the past five years, your driver’s license can be suspended for up to 18 months and you must pay a fine of $750. Your driver’s license can be permanently revoked if you refuse testing and—within the past four years—you’ve had two refusals, two DWI convictions, or one of each.
However, your license cannot be suspended for refusing a chemical test unless an officer first warns you about the consequences of refusal. In New York, this means the officer needs to tell you, that if you refuse testing, your license will be suspended regardless of whether or not you’re subsequently convicted of DWI.