Should You Take the Breath Test?
If you have been pulled over and an officer suspects that you have been drinking, you should know that you have rights. You may be asked to perform field sobriety tests by the officer that could be harmful to your case if you are charged with DWI. You should be aiming to protect yourself in the event you are ever pulled over. You can inform yourself about whether you should take the breath test.
What most people don’t realize is there are several tests that you can refuse to take. Let’s start from the first moment that the police officer pulls you over. If you’ve been drinking, and you believe that you are impaired or intoxicated, you do not have to answer any questions about how much you had to drink or where you were drinking. You should always provide the officer with your license, your registration, and your insurance, but once he starts asking you questions about your alcohol consumption, you can say, “Officer, I’m not going to answer those questions.”
The next area where most people don’t realize that they can refuse is the field sobriety tests or the FSTs. Those are the tests when the officer has gotten you out of the vehicle and wants you to perform certain field sobriety tests on the side of the road. You are under no obligation to take any of those tests. You can refuse each one of those without penalty. This will prevent the officer from gathering evidence that may be harmful to your case.
The most common area of confusion is whether you should take the Alco Sensor test, which is on the side of the road. You do not have to take the Alco Sensor test. It is a traffic infraction for not taking that test, however, it is not a criminal offense to refuse the Alco Sensor test.
Once you’re back at the police station, this is where you are given the breathalyzer or the data master. These are machines. These machines will measure your blood alcohol in your system when you blow into it. This is not an easy question to answer. I tell most people that so much of this depends on how much they had to drink, when they had the drinks, whether they had anything to eat, and whether they have a prior conviction for any alcohol-related offense. These factors, only an experienced Lockport DWI Attorney can answer.
There is no right or wrong anymore on whether you should take the test, but please be aware in New York State, if you refuse to take a breathalyzer test back at the station, the Department of Motor Vehicles will impose sanctions on top of any criminal conviction or non-criminal conviction you will receive.
The Department of Motor Vehicle will impose a one-year revocation of your license for a refusal. A refusal is refusal to take a breath test. There is also a civil penalty imposed by DMV for someone who refuses the breath test.
There is an administrative proceeding that you can have to fight whether you voluntarily refuse to take the breath test. This is given at a Department of Motor Vehicle hearing. The best course of action is to contact an experienced Lockport DWI Attorney if the police officer lets you make a phone call.
If you are a good person caught up in a bad situation and need fierce representation, contact our office today. Arthur Pressman has over 30 years of experience in defending people just like you and is ready to fight for your justice.