Is it okay to refuse field sobriety tests in New York?

When you are pulled over on suspicion of driving while intoxicated (DWI), the police will typically ask you to submit to field sobriety tests during the traffic stop. New York drivers have no legal obligation to take these tests.

New York is an “implied consent” state, meaning that anyone who has a driver’s license automatically agrees to allow a chemical test to determine their blood alcohol content. However, the implied consent does not apply to field sobriety tests.

This means an officer cannot force you to take field sobriety tests or punish you for saying no. Additionally, a refusal will not result in an automatic driver’s license suspension.

When declining to take field sobriety tests, be sure to remain polite. Avoid confrontational behavior in your interactions with police officers.

Although field sobriety tests are voluntary, keep in mind that a refusal could be used against you in court during a DWI trial. Prosecutors may argue that it shows your consciousness of guilt.

If you take a field sobriety test and fail, it does not mean an automatic DWI conviction. Because these tests are subjective, many different factors can affect someone’s performance. Medical conditions, uncomfortable shoes, nervousness and noisy roads are reasons a person may fail field sobriety tests.

An experienced DWI defense lawyer can challenge the reliability of test results and help you get drunk driving charges dismissed or reduced. Brill Legal Group can explain your rights when it comes to DWI traffic stops in New York. Contact us today to learn more.

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