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Can you refuse a roadside chemical test in New York?

If you get pulled over by law enforcement or caught up in an enforcement roadblock, you may wonder what rights you have under New York law. It can be frustrating and frightening to have a police officer ask you to submit to a chemical test. You may worry about the accuracy of the test and whether you are causing legal problems for yourself. That may make you want to refuse the test to avoid implicating yourself.

The refusal of a test can mean additional criminal consequences. New York has an implied consent law for all drivers. Whether you hold a New York driver’s license or a license from another state, you give implied consent whenever you operate a motor vehicle on New York public roadways.

The act of driving itself implies that you consent to chemical testing if law enforcement officers claim to have probable cause for the test. A chemical test can involve testing breath, blood, saliva or urine.

Refusing the test likely means you will end up arrested. You may still face charges for impaired driving. Additionally, you may also face consequences under the implied consent law. Refusing a breath test could mean the loss of your license in addition to any suspensions related to an impaired driving conviction.

Further, any officers involved in your stop can testify to the courts about your refusal. The courts are allowed to consider the refusal as evidence that you knew you were under the influence. That can hurt your chances of successfully defending against pending in paired driving charges. While the state can not compel you to take a chemical test, it can punish you for refusing one.

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