NYPD Officer Charged with Refusing Breath Test

A Staten Island officer, Leif Tjornhom, reportedly crashed into a street sweeper early on January 19th. Tjornhom had been with NYPD for six years at the time of crash. There were no serious injuries, though Tjornhom has been charged with a DWI. On top of that charge, Tjornhom was also charged with refusing to take a breath test to reveal his blood alcohol content at the time of his arrest. The arresting officer attempted to administer the breath test after noticing an alcohol odor, as well as Tjornhom’s bloodshot eyes and slurred speech, but Tjornhom refused to submit.

Refusing to submit to a chemical test for blood alcohol content (BAC) levels, whether breath test, blood test, or urine test, can carry a heavy penalty. Current New York state law mandates that refusing to take a BAC chemical test automatically results in a one-year driver’s license suspension, along with a fine up of $500. Those penalties are required just for the first refusal. Each subsequent refusal results in more severe penalties, such as increased fines and longer license suspension periods. These penalties are additional to any resulting from a DWI conviction.

Many DWI cases rely on the results of a chemical test to prove that the driver was indeed intoxicated. The most common chemical BAC test, the breath test (or breathalyzer test) can be problematic, however. Some tests and reports have shown that these breath tests are not the most reliable way to gauge someone’s BAC. In fact, these studies show that breath tests often fail to give accurate BAC results. Breath tests read a person’s body temperature and use that information when calculating the BAC. This means that if your body temperature is elevated due to illness, stress, or any other cause, the breath test may give an inaccurate reading of your BAC. Police officers are trained to administer breath tests to control for such inaccuracies, but even a trained officer can misread test results or misuse the equipment.

This is not the first time this year that a New York police officer has been charged with a DWI. A New York state trooper has been arrested and charged with Driving While Intoxicated. A two-year veteran of the state police force, has been charged with a DWI after reportedly crashing his vehicle in the early morning hours of January 30, 2014. Allegedly, his intoxication caused the crash, hitting a tree and overturning his vehicle. Both the trooper and his passenger were taken to a nearby hospital with non-life threatening injuries. He was off duty at the time of the accident, and has been charged with a misdemeanor DWI.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a DWI, or with refusing to take a BAC chemical test, contact Nave DWI Defense Attorneys today. Our experienced New York DWI lawyers understand the complications and inaccuracies that can result from breathalyzer tests. We can help determine whether your breath test results can be used against you in your DWI case. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

DISCLAIMER: The exclusive purpose of this article is educational and it is not intended as either legal advice or a general solution to any specific legal problem. Corporate offices for Nave DWI Defense Attorneys are located at 269 W. Jefferson St.; Syracuse, New York 13202; Telephone No.: (315) 473-0899. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Attorney Advertising.

2015-03-23T20:46:05+00:00