When dealing with a DWI case, what can be refused? What are the consequences?
Once a person is pulled over by the police, you can refuse to even talk to the police officer. You have a right to remain silent, even on a speeding ticket. The police officer may ask you to take a preliminary breath test. You can refuse to blow into that. There really are no ramifications.
They’ll ask you to take standardized field sobriety tests where they ask you to do unnatural acts. They ask people to stand on one leg or walk heel to toe on a straight line. The police officer will ask you to follow his pen as if he’s an eye doctor. We appreciate he may be trained by another police officer to have you take a horizontal gaze and nystagmus test. However, he’s not a medical doctor.
The police ask you to stand on one leg and walk a straight line. People, by virtue of age, sex, height, weight and build, may not be good candidates to even take these tests. These tests can also be refused. There are no ramifications to that either.
In my opinion, most people have little to gain by saying, “I’m fine. I can do this.” You have very little to gain because you can’t pass a field sobriety test. These tests are made for failure. They can not be passed. Even if you do everything properly, the police officer will say you performed poorly or the test was inconclusive.
The next test is the big test. It is the breath or chemical test given when you get to the police precinct. You submit to a breath test. Perhaps it comes up a zero because you didn’t have anything to drink. Meanwhile, police think you’re under the influence of drugs. Then, they ask you to submit to a urine test.
All of these tests can be refused. Very seldom are they in your favor. However, there are certain negatives when you refuse to take a test. New York State is an implied consent state. By virtue of getting a license in New York, you consent to take a chemical test. If you refuse to take the test, you can lose your license for a year.