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Driving while intoxicated in New York is strictly forbidden, and it comes with serious consequences if you are caught in the moment. Drinking and driving is dangerous, and it kills people. No one operating a vehicle while intoxicated is let go with a warning or a light sentence, and the law does not allow anyone in this situation to get off without facing the full penalties and the face of the law. New York law does offer you the right to refuse to submit to any blood alcohol testing at the scene of the accident or traffic stop where you are accused of driving while intoxicated.
It’s within your legal right to refuse to submit to this test, but there are consequences for this action. While it falls within the realm of the law, your decision not to partake in a blood alcohol test is referred to as refusal. If you refuse this test, you’re immediately sent to jail and your license is suspended automatically. One year is the standard suspension term. Once your license is suspended and you are arrested, you have two weeks to gather all the evidence you need to defend your refusal before your Refusal Hearing.
What is a Refusal Hearing?
A refusal hearing is not related to the criminal case in which you are now involved after driving while intoxicated. A refusal hearing is a separate entity in which the court allows you to provide evidence you didn’t know you were refusing to submit to the tests requested at the scene of an accident or a traffic stop. The DMV is in charge of this case, and they’re looking to take your license for one year as well as charge you a $250 fine each year for three years.
What happens at your refusal hearing is a chance for you to prove you didn’t realize what you were doing. The outcome of this case does have a significant effect on the outcome of your case when you are tried for your DWI. When you refuse, it’s within your rights. However, it looks bad for you in the eyes of the law. You appear guilty of being intoxicated, and your refusal is viewed as an admission you are guilty of driving while intoxicated. It appears you’re hoping they won’t be able to pin you for this by not having a chance to test your blood or your alcohol level.
The Significance of The Police Officer
The good news for anyone arrested and charged with a DWI who refuses to take a blood-alcohol test is the arresting officer must appear at the hearing. If you are given a hearing two weeks after your refusal and the officer does not show up for the hearing, your license is given back to you until a second hearing is scheduled. The officer must be present, and that’s not always possible. The next hearing could be months down the road, and that gives you more time to present your case, to prove you didn’t know what you were doing when you refused, and it also gives the officer a second chance to fail to appear. This only looks better for you.
Hiring an Attorney
One of the most commonly asked questions following a DWI refusal is whether you must call an attorney to help with your case or if you can do it on your own. The general rule is you want an attorney. Refusal laws are strict, and the law does not work in your favor if you’re not familiar with it. It’s helpful to have someone on your side who is familiar with the law and able to present the best possible outcome to you when you show up at a hearing for refusal.
The benefit of an experienced DWI attorney is his or her ability to ask questions to the arresting officer when he or she appears at the hearing. These questions must be answered in full and with absolute honesty, and an experienced attorney has the knowledge to get the officer to say things that might damage his own case. An experienced attorney also knows what’s legal, what’s right, and what is protocol when it comes to a refusal case, and he or she might be able to find the smallest shred of evidence the officer did not handle the arrest precisely according to the letter of the law.
It’s imperative you remember your arrest and your refusal are damaging to your DWI case once you’re found guilty of refusal. A judge and a jury of your peers will see your refusal as an outright admission of guilt. They’re less likely to think you did something wrong if you take the test and are found guilty of intoxication. You could always say you simply didn’t realize you were drunk when you were driving. When you refuse, it looks as if you know right away you are drunk and shouldn’t be behind the wheel.
You have rights, and you should take advantage of them the moment you are arrested for refusal. Call an attorney and say nothing to no one at the scene. You have a chance to speak to an attorney who can help you with your case, and that’s the best course of action. The decisions you make in this moment can affect you for the rest of your life if you don’t know what you’re doing, so call an attorney and make sure you protect yourself.
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