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Home / Criminal Defense / DWI FAQs

What happens if I refuse to take a sobriety test?

By obtaining a New York drivers’ license and driving in the state, you are said to have given your informed consent to submit to a blood alcohol test when requested by the police. If you refuse to take a test, you can lose your driver’s license for a year or more and be required to pay a $500 penalty.

It is important to distinguish between a chemical test of your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and a field sobriety test which may be used to determine whether your motor reflexes and cognition are impaired. Field tests are things like having to walk a straight line, recite the alphabet backwards, follow a pen across your field of vision, tilt your head back and touch your nose with your eyes closed, etc. Many of these tests are nonscientific and can be used against you even if your BAC is less than .08%. You may be able to lawfully refuse to take these tests without losing your license, as opposed to a blood or breath test that actually measures your blood alcohol level.

What is an Ignition Interlock Device? Will I be required to have one?

An ignition interlock device, or IID, is a gadget that can be installed in your vehicle if you are convicted of DWI. Once an IID is installed, you have to blow into the device before starting your car. The IID measures your blood alcohol concentration (BAC), and if your BAC registers at .025% or higher, then your car won’t start.

If convicted of certain offenses, you may be given probation or a conditional discharge, but you will be required to install and maintain an IID on your vehicle, at your own expense, for at least six months.

What is a Driver Responsibility Assessment?

This is a fee that you must pay to the DMV if you are convicted of an alcohol-related or drug-related offense, or if you refuse to take a chemical test when required. The amount of the assessment is $250 annually for three years. This fee is assessed in addition to any other fines, fees, penalties or surcharges that you may be required to pay if convicted of DWI or DWAI.

Is DWI a misdemeanor or a felony? What about DWAI?

Generally speaking, DWI is a misdemeanor, and DWAI is classified as a traffic infraction. However, there are several ways in which a DWI can be charged as a felony offense or a DWAI can be charged as a misdemeanor. For instance, if you have been convicted of DWI within the past ten years, then your second or subsequent DWI offense can be charged as a felony. You can also be charged with felony Aggravated DWI if a child 15 years old or younger is in the vehicle with you when you are stopped. Also, if you cause an injury or death while driving under the influence, you can be charged with Vehicular Assault or Vehicular Manslaughter.

If convicted of a felony, you can face a year or more in state prison. Also, a felony conviction can affect you negatively in getting or keeping a job, obtaining credit, and other areas. Any DWI or DWAI conviction can result in serious consequences, with jail time, steep fines and damage to your reputation in your personal and professional life and in the community. Any time you are arrested and charged with an offense, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney for advice. In Goshen, contact Dupée & Monroe, P.C. for immediate assistance.

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