Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI)If you are arrested on drunk driving charges in New York then you will more than likely be asked to submit to a chemical test of your breath, blood or urine in order to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC).

This article covers everything you need to know about roadside breathalyzers and chemical tests in the State of New York.

Drunk Driving Laws in New York

Most drivers are aware of the fact that the legal limit in the State of New York is 0.08% BAC. In other words, it is illegal for an individual to operate a motor vehicle (car, boat, etc.) with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher.

Unfortunately, this is usually the extent of the average driver’s knowledge when it comes to DUI laws in New York.

For example, did you know that you can be charged with Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) if you are operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of just 0.05% or higher?

Understanding DUI laws and your rights as a driver is important so that you can be prepared to take the best possible action in the event that you are stopped by law enforcement officers.

How Do Police Officers Determine If A Driver Is Intoxicated?

Law enforcement officers use a variety of tests in order to determine whether or not a driver is intoxicated. Field sobriety tests, roadside breathalyzers and chemical tests are all commonly used by police officers to determine whether or not a driver is impaired.

Standardized Field Sobriety Tests

A standardized field sobriety test (SFST) is a type of test performed during a traffic stop in order to determine if a driver is impaired.

The three standardized field sobriety tests that law enforcement officers are authorized to use are the following:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN)
  • Walk-and-turn Test
  • One-leg Stand Test

Field sobriety tests are administered during a traffic stop when a police officer suspects a driver of operating a motor vehicle while impaired.

However, it is important to know that these tests are subject to human error and other issues. For example, if an officer administers the test incorrectly or if the driver has a medical issue that affects his or her ability to perform the field sobriety test then it can lead to inaccurate results.

Roadside Breathalyzer Test & Preliminary Breathalyzer Test (PBT)

New York Police Officer With DUI BreathalyzerLaw enforcement officers often use preliminary breathalyzer tests, also known as roadside breathalyzer tests, in order to estimate the blood alcohol content of an individual suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Roadside breathalyzer tests are considered much more accurate than field sobriety tests when it comes to determining a driver’s level of intoxication. That being said, these tests are not 100% accurate either.

The results from a roadside breathalyzer test, along with an individual’s performance on field sobriety tests, are often used as probable cause to arrest a driver on suspicion of intoxicated driving.

It is important to be aware of the fact that preliminary breath tests are not the same as official chemical breath tests (CBT). The results from a preliminary breath test can be used as probable cause to lawfully arrest a driver on DWI charges or DWAI charges, but the results of these tests cannot be used as evidence in a criminal trial for a DWI or DWAI.

Is It Illegal To Refuse A Roadside Breathalyzer Test?

New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law §1194(1)(b) requires all drivers to submit to preliminary breathalyzer tests if an officer suspects the driver of being intoxicated.

Drivers who refuse to submit to a preliminary breathalyzer test will typically receive a ticket under VTL §1194(1)(b).

Chemical Tests (Breath, Blood, Urine Or Saliva)

A chemical breath test (CBT) is a test that is administered after a driver has been arrested on DWI or DWAI charges. These chemical tests are typically administered at a police station while the arrested driver is being processed.

Law enforcement officers usually need to complete chemical tests within two hours of stopping a driver on suspicion of drunk driving in order for the test results to be considered valid.

If a chemical test is administered correctly and determined to be valid then the results of the test may be used as evidence in a criminal trial for a DWI or DWAI charge.

Is It Illegal To Refuse A Chemical Test?

Many drivers in New York want to know if it is legal to refuse a chemical breath test after being arrested on DWI-related charges.

New York’s Implied Consent Laws

New York’s law requires all drivers in the State of New York to submit to chemical testing after a DWI arrest. This implicit agreement to submit to a chemical test in order to determine a driver’s level of intoxication is know as the “implied consent” law.

Law enforcement officers must notify you of the consequences of refusing a chemical breath test prior to administering the test.

What Are The Penalties For Refusing A Breathalyzer Or Chemical Test In New York?

Penalties For A First Offense Chemical Test Refusal

The penalties for a first offense chemical test refusal in New York include:

  • 1 year license revocation
  • $500 civil penalty fine
  • $250 annual driver responsibility assessment for 3 years

Penalties For A Second Offense Chemical Test Refusal

The penalties for a second offense chemical test refusal in New York include:

  • 18 month license revocation
  • $750 civil penalty fine
  • $250 annual driver responsibility assessment for 3 years

Arrested On DWI Charges In New York?

If you or a loved one have been arrested on DWI-related charges in the State of New York then you may be wondering what options you have.

At DUI Legal NY we encourage all drivers facing DWI charges to speak with one of our experienced DUI defense lawyers for a free consultation. We have helped countless clients in New York to fight their DWI charges in order to obtain reduced charges and penalties.

Contact us today for a free consultation to learn about your legal options.