Following up my last post about drinking and driving, today I answer the ultimate drinking and driving question: “Should I blow?”
You can ask another New York traffic lawyer this question and get a different answer but below is my advice (and I am sticking to it).
As a threshold matter, if you can’t remember this advice when asked to blow, you’re likely too drunk to be blowing. Whenever you are clearly three sheets to the wind, I recommend NOT blowing. The reason is that you are clearly going to be over the legal limit and why help the prosecutor prove his or her case? Further, if you blow some obscenely high reading, the judge could very likely get pissed off and hold it against you in sentencing. By not blowing, he’ll likely not know how drunk you were. Keep in mind, however, that a motorist who wrongly refused a breathalyzer test in New York is subject to as 12-month loss of license (while someone convicted of DWI who does not refuse will only lose his or her license for 12 months).
On the other hand, if you had a few drinks and possibly even aren’t over the legal limit, I highly recommend blowing. If you below less than the legal limit (.08 in New York for DWI and .05 for Driving While Impaired), then you are free to go on your way. Even if you blow above the legal limit, presumably it will not be excessively over the limit and, at some point in your case, you’ll likely be offered a plea bargain to a lesser charge.
The tricky question is when you are in between. That is, you are not slightly buzzed but not trashed. This is a tough call but ultimately I recommend blowing in this situation too. Even though you are likely to reveal yourself to be legally drunk, you will still most likely be offered a plea bargain (assuming the reading is not too exorbitant). If you didn’t blow in this situation, however, the refusal will likely result in no plea bargain being offered. Plus, as discussed above, a motorist who wrongly refuses a breathalyzer is subject to as 12-month loss of license (rather than just six).
You should be aware that the above advice is focused on the criminal consequences of drinking and driving. There are civil consequences as well which are imposed by the New York Department of Motor Vehicles. The DMV will suspend motorists for 12 months if they wrongly refuse to take a breathalyzer. So by refusing to blow, you may help your criminal case but, at the same time, hurt your chances to keep your license.
With all this said, I urge you all to refrain from driving ANYTIME that you drink. It’s just not worth it and you don’t want to hurt yourself or others.