Can you lose your license for refusing a breathalyzer test?

On Behalf of | Feb 26, 2020 | dui/dwi

Unfortunately, the answer to the above question is yes. You can and in fact will lose your driver’s license if you refuse to take a breathalyzer test when officers pull you over for an alleged DUI and request that you take one. Why? Because when you got your license, you agreed, under New York’s implied consent law, that you would submit to a chemical test whenever officers ask you to take one. While you have the legal right to refuse, you will pay a penalty therefor.

The New York Department of Motor Vehicles explains that you face several possible consequences for refusing to take a breathalyzer test depending on your age and the circumstances. For instance, the first time you refuse to take the test, the state will automatically revoke your license for one year, 18 months if you have a Commercial Driver’s License. You also will face paying a $500 penalty, $550 if you have a CDL.

If you refuse to take the breathalyzer test within five years of having previously refused to take one or having received a conviction for a DUI-related crime, the state will revoke your driver’s license for 18 months or your CDL permanently. You will also have to pay a $750 fine.

If you have not yet attained your 21st birthday, New York has a zero tolerance law regarding DUIs and test refusals. The first time you refuse to take the breathalyzer test, the state will suspend your driver’s license for a minimum of one year and fine you $300. You will have to pay an additional $100 fee to get your license reinstated. If you subsequently refuse to take a second breathalyzer test, the revocation period and reinstatement fee remain the same, but the fine increases to $750.