New York City Traffic Ticket Lawyer: What is a Refusal Hearing?

I was arrested in Nassau County for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol.  A few days later, I received a Notice of Hearing for Refusing to take a Chemical Test.  I had told the Police Officer I did not want to take a Breathalyzer Test. According to New York’s Implied Consent Law, all New York City drivers must submit to a breathalyzer or other chemical test at the request of a police officer when the officer suspects the driver of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In other words, by operating a car, motorists consent to submit themselves to chemical tests and relinquish their right to refuse. If a driver were to refuse the chemical test, they will open themselves up to many different problems. If a driver were convicted of the refusal his or her license will be revoked.

What is a Refusal Hearing?

A Refusal Hearing occurs before an administrative law judge at a New York State DMV and is meant to determine whether or not the driver willingly violated the Implied Consent Law. The Refusal Hearing does not address any issues stemming from a DWI or DUI arrest other than the refusal to submit to the chemical test; if charges are brought against the driver for DWI or DUI offenses, that case will proceed in Criminal Court in Nassau County. A Refusal Hearing lawyer will also have an opportunity to cross examine the arresting officer at the hearing, which will help the attorney gain valuable information from the officer which can later be used in any DWI or DUI criminal hearings.

Right to Waive Hearing

Every driver has the right to waive a Refusal Hearing, but this is not what a Nassau County Traffic or Criminal Lawyer would recommend. If a driver waives their right to the hearing, they are effectively pleading guilty to the refusal charge. Their driver’s license will be revoked for one year and they will face a stiff financial penalty. All of this will occur regardless of whether the driver is charged in Criminal Court, and their driver’s license can be revoked even if the criminal charges are dismissed.


As noted above, a driver who refuses to submit to a chemical test in New York City will have their driver’s license automatically suspended. If found guilty at the DMV Refusal Hearing, their driver’s license will be revoked for up to one year and they will have to pay a $500 fine, as well as the NY Driver Responsibility Assessment. In addition, the fact that the driver refused to submit to the chemical test can be brought against them if / when they are tried on alcohol or drug charges. 

If you are ever arrested for a DWI and are facing a Refusal Hearing, or if you receive any other traffic tickets in New York State, please contact us at 212-227-9008 or email