Can I win a refusal of breathalyzer case if I’m taking meds for anxiety/panick attacks?

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Can I win a refusal of breathalyzer case if I’m taking meds for anxiety/panick attacks?

After having about 4 beers over 2 hours, I was pulled over for speeding. The officer asked me if I had anything to drink tonight, I said yes, about 4 beers. He had me walk the line, I did so as good as I ever could without alcohol involved. He asked me to take a breathalyzer, I asked if I had to, he said if I didn’t, I would lose my license and I would get 1 more shot at station. Went with him to station, blew 3 times, nothing registered. Charged with speeding, DWI, and refusal. I’m on medication for anxiety/panic attacks and when these occur I can barely breathe. Can I win this case?

Asked on April 13, 2011 under Criminal Law, New York

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No one can tell you with certainty if you will win the case but keep in mind that driving while intoxicated can mean different things in different states. It may also be changed (once the prosecutor sees the charge and the facts) to driving under the influence. If you are consuming alcohol while also being on medication, it could cause or trigger reactions that could register as intoxication. The question here is if you informed the police officer you take certain medications that a) concern anxiety and panic attacks and that b) you can barely breathe. That may have triggered the question of having to take either a blood test or contacting counsel. Many states state that if you refuse a breathalyzer on site, your driver's license will be taken from you until this matter is resolved. Talk to your criminal defense attorney because you may have some colorable claims that could help dismiss this matter.


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