Refusal of Breathalyzer in New Jersey

Refusal of Breathalyzer in New Jersey

Understanding the Consequences of Refusal of Breathalyzer in New Jersey

Did you know that refusal of breathalyzer in New Jersey has serious consequences, including license suspension, fines, and even jail time? In this blog post, we will dive deep into the intricacies of New Jersey’s implied consent law, the consequences of refusing a breathalyzer test, and the rights and responsibilities of drivers during DUI stops. We will also discuss how The Law Office of Gina M. Wicik can help you navigate the complex legal process and potentially reduce or dismiss charges.

New Jersey’s Implied Consent Law

New Jersey’s Implied Consent Law plays a crucial role in maintaining road safety by mandating that drivers must submit to chemical tests when suspected of driving under the influence by a police officer. This law is based on the premise that by driving in New Jersey, drivers implicitly agree to take a breathalyzer test upon request.

Failure to comply with this requirement can result in a refusal charge, if convicted of such, this could cause a license suspension or revocation. Officers must have reasonable grounds to request the test, and the burden of proof lies with the defendant to demonstrate an inability to fulfill the breath demand.

Drivers in New Jersey implicitly agree to chemical tests, such as breath tests, when they accept the privilege of driving on its roads. This concept is known as implied consent. When you obtain your driver’s license, you’re essentially consenting to these tests if law enforcement suspects you’re driving under the influence.

This consent is not without its protections. New Jersey’s implied consent laws grant drivers additional rights, including the right to receive a copy of the test results and the right to have chemical tests of their breath, urine, or blood made by a person or physician of their choice at their own expense. However, refusing a breath test is not legally allowed in New Jersey, and doing so can lead to severe penalties.

Consequences of Refusing a Breathalyzer Test in New Jersey

The consequences of refusing a breathalyzer test in New Jersey can be harsh, as they are separate from penalties imposed for a DUI offense. First-time offenders face license suspension, fines, and participation in an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center program, while repeat offenders face increased fines, longer license suspensions, and possible jail time.

Moreover, the automobile insurance surcharge for refusing a breathalyzer for first and second-time offenses is one thousand dollars per year for three years.

First Offense Penalties

If you are a first-time offender and refuse a breathalyzer test in New Jersey, you may face a range of penalties. These include fines, up to 30 days of incarceration, a  license suspension for seven to twelve months, mandatory alcohol education, and a $1,000 automobile insurance surcharge for three years. 

Repeat Offenders

For those who have committed previous offenses and refuse a breathalyzer test in New Jersey, the consequences become even more severe. A second offense of refusing a breathalyzer test can result in a fine of $500-$1,000, a 1-2 year license suspension, 48 hours in detention, mandatory community service, and a jail term of 2-90 days.

If you refuse a breathalyzer test for a third or subsequent time, you may face a $1,000 fine, a 10-year license suspension, a mandatory alcohol education program, additional alcohol counseling, and up to 180 days in county jail. 

Defending Against Breath Test Refusal Charges

If you are charged with refusing a breathalyzer test in New Jersey, several defense strategies may be available to you. These strategies may involve challenging the probable cause for the stop, contesting the request for the test, or disputing the accuracy of the test results.

It is essential to know your rights and responsibilities during DUI stops, including your right to legal counsel and your obligation to provide breath samples when requested by law enforcement officers. Contact The Law Office of Gina M. Wicik for a free case evaluation at 516-253-4278. 

Breathalyzer Alternatives: Blood and Field Sobriety Tests

While breathalyzer tests are the most commonly used method to determine blood alcohol concentration, there are alternatives, such as blood tests and field sobriety tests. Each of these tests has its own procedures and consequences. 

Blood Test Accuracy and Legality

Blood tests are more accurate than breathalyzer tests in determining blood alcohol concentration, but must be conducted legally under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.2. Blood tests involve analyzing a person’s blood sample to ascertain the presence of alcohol or drugs in their system. The accuracy of blood tests can vary depending on various factors such as the test methodology, instrumentation, and laboratory operations.

In accordance with N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.2, blood tests must be conducted in a lawful manner in order to be permissible in court. The law mandates that the blood test be carried out by a certified medical practitioner and that the individual being tested must be notified of their rights and the repercussions of declining the test.

Field Sobriety Test Procedures and Refusal

Field sobriety tests are used by law enforcement to evaluate a driver’s physical and cognitive abilities, helping officers determine if a driver is impaired by alcohol or drugs. These tests typically include the walk-and-turn test, the one-leg stand test, and the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test.

Rejection of a field sobriety test could potentially provide reasonable grounds for arrest. However, it is important to note that drivers have the legal right to decline a field sobriety test, and the consequences of refusing such tests will depend on the specific circumstances of the case.

Rights and Responsibilities of Drivers During DUI Stops

During DUI stops, drivers in New Jersey have certain rights and responsibilities. They have the right to consult an attorney after the arrest, but they do not have the right to an attorney during a breathalyzer test. Drivers are also required to provide breath samples when requested by law enforcement officers. Failure to comply with a request for a breath sample will result in a refusal to submit charge. 

Right to an Attorney

It is important to note that drivers in New Jersey do not have the right to have an attorney present during the administration of a breathalyzer test. However, they do have the right to consult an attorney after the arrest. Obtaining legal representation can be crucial in successfully navigating the complex legal process surrounding DUI and breath test refusal charges.

The Law Office of Gina M. Wicik can help evaluate your case, develop a defense strategy, and guide you through the legal process. They can assess the strengths and weaknesses of your case, determine the best course of action, and potentially reduce or dismiss charges.

Case Evaluation and Defense Strategy

When you consult with Gina M. Wicik, she will begin by examining the facts of your case, including the details of the arrest, the evidence gathered, and any other pertinent information. She will then analyze the applicable laws and legal precedents to determine the strengths and weaknesses of your case and develop the most suitable defense strategy. The best course of action for a defendant in a refusal of breathalyzer case will depend on the individual circumstances of the case. 

Navigating the Legal Process

Legal representation can significantly help navigate the complexities of DUI and breath test refusal cases in New Jersey. The Law Office of Gina M. Wicik can guide you through the legal process, which typically involves an arraignment hearing, where the charges and potential penalties are outlined, followed by a case management conference or conferences and eventually either a plea will be taken, and you will be sentenced or the case will have a bench trial, as New Jersey law does not provide for jury trials in DUI cases.

Summary

Refusing a breathalyzer test in New Jersey can result in severe consequences, including license suspension, fines, and even jail time. It is crucial for drivers to understand their rights and responsibilities during DUI stops and to consult with an experienced New Jersey DUI attorney if facing breath test refusal charges.

The Law Office of Gina M. Wicik can help evaluate your case, develop a defense strategy, and guide you through the complex legal process, potentially reducing or dismissing charges, fill out our contact form or call for a free case evaluation 516-253-4278

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if you refuse breathalyzer in NJ?

If you refuse a breathalyzer in New Jersey, you could be subject to a seven month license suspension and a fine ranging from $300-$500 for a first offense. Repeat offenders may face a two year license suspensions and a fine of $500-$1,000, or ten years and a $1,000 fine for the third refusal.

Do I have the right to an attorney during a breathalyzer test?

No, you do not have the right to an attorney during a breathalyzer test. However, you can consult with an attorney after being arrested in New Jersey    

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