Cimasi Law Office

Your rights after being pulled over for a DUI

Before deciding to drive home after a night out drinking, it’s important to be absolutely sure you’re sober enough to drive home safely.

Otherwise, if you’re pulled over on suspicion of driving while under the influence of alcohol, you won’t have many rights.

Can the police pull me over randomly?

Sometimes. Typically, a police officer cannot pull you over unless there is some clue in your driving technique that shows you may be impaired or breaking the law. A policeman who watches you leave a bar does not have reasonable suspicion to pull you over for drunk driving unless you are driving erratically.

However, if you happen to enter a sobriety checkpoint, a police officer has the right to randomly pull over any driver and request a breathalyzer test.

Can I refuse a drunk test?

Depending on the type of test an officer asks for, you may or may not be able to refuse. You’re under no obligation to take a field sobriety test in the state of New York. In these types of tests, you may be asked to walk in a straight line, recite the alphabet backward, touch your nose with your finger, etc.

However, refusing a chemical test (a breathalyzer) can result in serious penalties. This is because New York law says that those who get a driver’s license have implied their consent to be chemically tested. Breaking the implied consent law by refusing a chemical test will automatically result in one year’s suspension of your driver’s license and a fine of $500.

Police officers may give you a pre-arrest breathalyzer test and then test your blood for alcohol again at the police station. The latter test is usually most credible in court.

What penalties will I face for my first DUI?

Most drivers who get a DUI become repeat offenders. That’s one reason why first-time DUI penalties can be so harsh. You may face up to one year of jail time, a fine up to $1,000 and license revocation for a minimum of 6 months.

Heightened penalties may be applied depending on factors, such as if you had a BAC of .18 percent or higher. However, by working with a skilled criminal defense attorney, you may be able to demonstrate reasonable doubt or negotiate the penalties you face for a more favorable outcome.

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