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Understanding New York’s Implied Consent Law


Getting pulled over can be a nerve-wracking experience. It’s not unusual for your mind to jump to the worst possible conclusion as the officer approaches your vehicle. This fear can be doubly as intense—and reasonably justified—if you’ve been drinking.

For New York drivers who’ve been stopped for suspicion of DWI, there’s a natural instinct to prove your sobriety. Even if you haven’t consumed much alcohol, however, a field sobriety or blood alcohol content (BAC) test can seem daunting, and in all likelihood, it’s something you’d preferably avoid. But is refusing such a test a viable option?

A permission granted by just taking to the road

Like many laws, those pertaining to drunk driving can vary significantly from state to state. New York, for its part, employs what it calls “implied consent” when it comes to those who may be over the legal limit. What this essentially means is that an individual, by driving a car in the state of New York, has automatically given consent to this sort of test.

What happens after a BAC test refusal?

It’s worth noting that, legally, a police officer cannot force an individual to submit to a chemical BAC test. However, a test refusal can come with some steep consequences, such as:

  • Immediate driver’s license suspension upon court arraignment.
  • Revocation of your license by a DMV court even after being found not guilty of a DWI.
  • The prosecution could use your refusal as evidence against you in court.

After an arrest

If you’ve failed a field sobriety or BAC test and are facing DWI charges, there are options available to you. An experienced legal professional could be of aid as you mount your defense. Drunk driving charges have the power to devastate an individual’s life, and with so much on the line it does not behoove you to go it alone.