Understanding your rights at a DUI checkpoint in New York

In a previous blog post, we discussed how New York is now considered an "implied consent" state. Basically what that means is that the state legislature has attempted to strike a balance between a motorist's individual rights and the state's obligation to protect its citizens from drunk driving accidents.

Implied consent essentially means that a motorist has waived his or her rights to refuse to participate in a preliminary blood alcohol concentration test in exchange for the privilege of obtaining a New York State driving license. In other words, your driver's license will almost always be suspended if you are pulled over and refuse to blow into a breathalyzer.

If you have been drinking then you may choose to refuse that test and attempt to challenge the legality of your traffic stop. However, if you do consent and perform the test, you should know that each defendant has a right to challenge the validity of those tests. For example, the officer conducting the test may not have received adequate or appropriate training qualifying him or her to administer the test.

Additionally, the testing device used to measure your BAC level may not have been stored properly or calibrated within acceptable parameters prior to its use. It is important to remember that breathalyzers are pieces of electronic equipment. Just like digital cameras, cellphones and GPS devices, breathalyzers are not immune from the same technical challenges shared by other electronics.

If you are a New York resident who is currently facing DUI charges, then you should know that your arrest does not automatically guarantee your conviction. Our Newburgh-based law firm has an attorney with over 15 years of practice experience litigating DUI cases on both sides of the courtroom -- both as a prosecutor for Orange County New York, and presently as a DUI defense attorney. Our law firm is available to our clients 24/7.

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