When you see police lights behind your vehicle, you might automatically get nervous. If you have been consuming alcohol, that nervousness might impede your ability to think clearly. One thing that all motorists who enjoy alcohol should be aware of is the implied consent law that governs penalties for refusing to take a breath test upon request.
For drivers in New York, the consequences for refusing a breathalyzer test are harsh. By simply not consenting to a breathalyzer test, you face an automatic six-month suspension of your driving privileges. You also face a $500 fine for this drunk driving penalty. These consequences can cause significant difficulties for some people, such as those who work in a position that requires them to maintain a valid driver's license and a clean driving record.
When considering the criteria for when implied consent laws are applicable, you should know that the officer who stops you has to have a reasonable suspicion that you are intoxicated. If that criteria is met, the officer can request that you complete a field sobriety test, a breathalyzer or both. If you refuse, you face the automatic suspension of your license.
It is important for anyone who drives, even if they don't drink, to understand these penalties. In some cases, fighting the suspension might be possible. Knowing the New York laws governing implied consent, reasonable suspicion and other applicable laws can help you to determine how to proceed if you are in that position. In some cases, working with someone who has that knowledge might help you to ensure that your rights are protected in these cases.
Source: FindLaw, "Implied Consent Laws" Sep. 04, 2014