Breath Test Refusal in NJ
When a police officer pulls someone over for suspicion of driving while intoxicated, there are several procedures they go through before making an arrest. One of the most commonly known tools that cops use is an alcohol breath analyzing tool, better known as the breathalyzer. So if you are pulled over in New Jersey for a DWI, what is the law regarding breathalyzer refusal? Do you have to submit to it, can you request another test, or can you refuse altogether? Here are the laws that govern DWIs and blood alcohol testing procedures in New Jersey.
New Jersey Is An Implied Consent State
While there are a few states where you can refuse outright to blow into a breathalyzer, New Jersey is not one of them. Receiving a valid driver’s license in New Jersey carries something called implied consent: this means that if you are requested to do so by law enforcement, you are then required to submit to a chemical test for drugs and alcohol. Refusal to do so results in a criminal charge. While testing can be in the form of blood and urine tests, the more commonly used tool is the breathalyzer, as it is easy to use in the field and delivers immediate results.
What About My Miranda Warnings?
Current Constitutional law says that breathalyzer requirements are not covered by the Miranda decision. Miranda guarantees your right to an attorney during questioning, but this does not cover alcohol tests like breathalyzers. The bottom line is that you DO NOT have the right to have an attorney present while these tests are being administered. Police officers ARE required to read you a statement detailing possible consequences for refusing to take the test.
What Penalties Are There For Refusing A Breathalyzer?
Refusing to submit to a breathalyzer carries a criminal charge, not including those you can get if charged with a DWI. You can pay hundreds of dollars in fines for a first offense, and up to many thousands with subsequent refusals. In addition, a judge can force you to attend alcohol awareness programs, community service, and even suspend your license for a certain amount of time. Remember, these punishments are for refusing to take the test ONLY. You can still be charged with a DWI and face any of the punishments that a DWI conviction carries.
Legal Help With Breathalyzer Issues
Just because you cannot refuse to take a breathalyzer test does not mean that you do not have any legal options when facing charges. Get in touch with an experienced DUI/criminal attorney as soon as possible. They can help you negotiate a plea deal if they can, and try to get you the best possible outcome. They may also take a look at the breathalyzer test itself to see if it can stand up in court as evidence. A breathalyzer needs to be properly calibrated to give the police officer an accurate reading, and if the calibration is off, the results of the test may be inadmissible against you in court. Last year, the results of more than 20,000 breathalyzer tests had to be thrown out due to this very issue.
Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Charges in New Jersey Today!
Were you arrested or charged with a DWI or breath test refusal in NJ? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. Michelle Finizio has successfully represented clients charged with DWI throughout South Jersey. Call 856-242-7300or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team. We have an office conveniently located at 9 E. Main St, Moorestown, NJ 08057.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.