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Should I refuse a breath test?

The answer to the question of whether or not you should submit to a breath blood alcohol content test during a New York traffic or boating stop is, unfortunately, very difficult to answer with any certainty. Your best course of action would probably depend on any number of details of the circumstances of your incident. 

Of course, as FindLaw underscores, the best thing to do is often to simply avoid driving or boating while intoxicated. However, if you are stopped and an officer requests that you comply with an alcohol test, it could be a good idea in some situations to comply. Refusing a BAC breath test has various consequences, and not all of them will benefit you if you decide to contest the claims of the officer.

As you might know, there are many ways in which law enforcement officers overstep their bounds during these routine traffic stops. For example, profiling might be involved, meaning that you could have been detained and searched without the presence of probably cause. There are rules governing every step of a police officer's interactions with you, and these rules begin even before the traffic stop begins. A violation of any one of these rules could represent a dire invasion of your constitutional rights, and could therefore invalidate some or all of the evidence the officer collects during your detention. 

Again, it is nearly impossible to state whether or not, as a general rule, it is a good idea to comply with breath tests. Therefore, please do not regard this article as legal advice — the only intention is education.

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Hall, Ricketts, Schuller & Gurbacki, P.C.
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East Aurora, NY 14052

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