Just the other week my partner and I were having a drink and a meal at Coltivare. They have a great "Happier Hour" and the bar was hopping. I couldn't help but notice the guy sitting next to us "primed" his dinner with a stiff drink (whiskey), and then ordered a bottle of wine for himself. Yeah, as a DWI defense lawyer how do you not notice that.
Anyway, we all got to talking and he asked us if he was stopped by the police what he should do. Well, this is a common lay question? Do I take the police tests, the breath test? Or do I refuse the test?
It's It All or None in New York, Take the Test or REFUSE: NO Breath Test
In the best possible criminal defense situation you give the Police NO evidence of anything. Remember evidence (proof) makes or breaks criminal cases.
1. Make NO statements, don't say anything.
2. Make NO moves, don't take field sobriety coordination exercises.
3. Give NO body fluid samples, no breath, no blood, no urine.
Just say, "I want a lawyer." End of story. But what happens to me if I refuse in New York State?
Well in NYS, a refusal to give a breath sample has two major penalties:
One, a jury instruction from the judge to the jury in your case that your refusal could be considered a consciousness of your guilt (you refused because you felt or knew you were GUILTY).
Two, a one year license (privileges to drive) revocation. Yup, your license to drive a car is revoked for one full year just based upon the refusal to test a sample of your breath or blood.
The True Test of Whether You Should or Should NOT REFUSE is One Simple Question
So can live without a license to drive?
Say you live in New York City or another metro area, then by all means do not test. But if you can not live without driving privileges, then consider the serious implication of NOT testing on your license.
That is always the BIG question:
Do you have to have a license to drive, to live, to work?
Because if you can survive for awhile without (driving privileges) it then by all means REFUSE EVERYTHING! It is truly the best chance you will ever get to defend your DWI charges.