Receiving a DUI charge for the first time can be an overwhelming and confusing experience. You may find yourself inundated with fears about how this arrest might impact your future. Below are just a few common questions you might have during this difficult time.

Can I refuse a breath test?

There are two types of breath tests a police officer might administer. A preliminary breath test (PBT) is a type of field sobriety test that an officer uses to determine your level of intoxication at the scene. While you may refuse to submit to a PBT, an officer can still arrest you for drunk driving with probable cause.

The other available test is a Breathalyzer test. This is a type of chemical test that’s usually more reliable than a PBT. After an arrest, an officer may bring you to the station and ask that you submit to a Breathalyzer test. Under New York’s implied consent law, you automatically agree to chemical testing of any kind — including blood and urine tests — when you get behind the wheel of a car. So, refusing to submit to a Breathalyzer test could result in more penalties for you.

Will I lose my license?

Typically, a DUI charge comes with a license suspension. This may last anywhere from 90 days to one year. Facing the loss of your driving privileges can be frustrating and inconvenient. But driving with a suspended license can add time to your suspension period. It may even result in additional charges.

What penalties am I facing?

New York considers a first-time DUI offense a misdemeanor. In addition to license suspension, you may face a slew of other penalties after a DUI charge. Depending on your case, you can expect:

  • Fines up to $1,000
  • Up to one year in jail
  • A probationary period of up to three years
  • Mandatory rehabilitation or safety programs
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device

Usually, your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of your arrest determines how severe your first-time DUI penalties will be. So, you could potentially face a combination of any of these penalties.

Will a DUI charge show up on my permanent record?

A DUI charge can only be expunged if a court dismisses your case. Otherwise, a DUI conviction will remain on your record. Police officers can then use your history of DUI charges to convict you if they ever pull you over for a subsequent drunk driving offense.

Should I seek legal assistance?

Just because it’s a first offense doesn’t mean tackling your DUI charge on your own will be easy. A DUI arrest can even have long-lasting impacts if you don’t know what you’re up against. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side during this difficult time can help you build a strong defense that may decrease the impact that a DUI charge can have on your life.