What Happens if I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in New Jersey?

When you get pulled over and you have been drinking, it can be a moment of terror. Maybe you are seriously over the limit, or maybe you are concerned the second beer was consumed too short a time prior. In any case, you now are unsure of what to do next. In New Jersey, you can refuse a breathalyzer test, but it comes with a lot of trouble.

With law enforcement constantly on the lookout for intoxicated drivers, it’s unlikely your intoxication will go unnoticed. Driving in such a condition is a serious offense in the state and can lead to a loss of license, time in jail, fines, and other repercussions. If you know you are over the limit, it may make good sense not to submit to the test. But what are the consequences if you decide to do so?

Implied Consent

When you get a driver’s license in the state of New Jersey, you are implying you consent to chemical tests from officers upon request. This can include blood, urine, or breath samples. If you are arrested for a DUI offense, you are legally required to submit to the test. By this logic, you technically are required to take the test, but you can still refuse to do so.

Refusal to Take the Test

Of course, no one can force you to blow into a breathalyzer, nor can they hold you down and take your blood. However, you will face potential charges for refusal if you decide not to take the test. Refusal can span into a few categories. Not blowing hard enough into a breathalyzer or staying silent and not participating counts as a refusal in New Jersey. In the state, there are some of the harshest penalties in the nation for refusal such as a DUI conviction, which can include loss of license and significant fines.

Defenses for Refusing the Test

If you refused to take the test, you may have good reason. One good reason is not having your rights read and not being given proper warnings. Confusion is another defense. If you were confused by hearing your Miranda rights and test warnings at the same time and got them confused, you may have a case. Lack of probable cause is also a defense. In these cases, you must prove the officer didn’t have proper cause to initiate the arrest.

If you are facing these or other DUI-related charges, contact us today. At Wallace Law, we understand how DUI law works in New Jersey and will fight to ensure you are not taken advantage of or have your rights ignored.