Administrative License Hearings
Administrative license hearings are also known as “Refusal Hearings.” Under the New York State Vehicle & Traffic Law, when you operate a motor vehicle in the State of New York, you automatically consent to a chemical test of your blood, urine, or breath, when you are properly stopped for a traffic infraction and the officer reasonably believes that you may be driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs. The officer will request that you take a chemical test (usually a breathalyzer) and if you refuse to do so, you will be charged with a “refusal” in addition to the criminal charges against you. If the refusal is then substantiated at a Refusal Hearing, your license will be revoked for one year, and fines will be assessed. At the Law Office of Mark A. Siesel in White Plains, New York, we defend clients at administrative hearings and attempt to restore their driving privileges before the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Civil Penalties for Refusing Chemical Tests of Breath, Blood, or Urine
If you are charged with a DWI, DWAID, aggravated DWI or a felony DWI under Leandra’s Law, these are all crimes. However, refusing a blood or Breathalyzer test is not a criminal offense, but rather an administrative matter under the jurisdiction of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, not the presiding Court. There are separate administrative and civil penalties for a refusal which potentially can result in the revocation of your driver’s license for at least one year, sometimes before the Court proceedings are concluded. The State of New York has "implied consent" by which anyone who operates a motor vehicle in New York consents to chemical testing if he or she is subject to a traffic stop on suspicion of DWI. If you refuse, an administrative license hearing will be scheduled by the Court within 15 days of your arraignment. The Refusal Hearing will be conducted before an administrative judge at the local Department of Motor Vehicles. Generally, in each county, these hearings are held in one DMV office. For example, in Westchester County, all Refusal Hearings are conducted at the Yonkers, New York Department of Motor Vehicles office.
Representing You At the Refusal Hearing
At the Law Office of Mark A. Siesel, we realize that a simple chemical test refusal can result in a complex case before an administrative judge with the DMV. Generally, at Refusal Hearings, there will be testimony by the arresting officer and or the officer who requested that you take a chemical test. If the officer does not appear on the first scheduled date of the hearing, the hearing will be adjourned by the administrative judge. The good news is that if the hearing is adjourned, your driver’s license (which is automatically “suspended pending prosecution” at your arraignment in Court) will be restored to you, at least until the completion of the case in criminal Court. It is a quite frequent occurrence that officers will not appear for the refusal hearing, at least on the first occasion. You may testify or it may be in your best interest not to testify at the hearing. Sometimes that evidence without your testimony may not be sufficient to establish that there was in fact a refusal. For example, if you initially refused, but then decided to take the chemical test after being read “Refusal warnings” by the officer, this may not be sufficient to prove a refusal, under the concept that there was not a “persistent refusal.”
The DMV Refusal/Administrative license hearing serves as our first chance to present arguments on your behalf and provides is a very good opportunity to cross examine the arresting officer(s). We will aggressively represent you through each aspect of your case.
If you have been charged with a refusal, or any DWI related charge, you need the services of experienced, knowledgeable and aggressive attorneys. To obtain more information or to schedule an appointment with an experienced lawyer if your license has been suspended, please contact us.