New Jersey DWI Refusal Charge
- Dan T. Matrafajlo
- Tue Mar 2023
When you are arrested for drunk driving, or driving while under the influence (DWI), the arresting officers can ask you to submit either a breath or blood sample. The blood test is generally most accurate in detecting both alcohol and drugs in your system. Results of these samples are used as a cornerstone in the prosecution’s case against you. If you are asked to provide a breath or blood sample after you are arrested on suspicion of a DWI and you fail to consent, you can be charged with a refusal allegation in addition to a drunk driving charge.
DWI Refusal 39:4-50
A New Jersey DWI refusal 39:4-50.4a charge results from a situation where you are pulled over for drunk driving and refuse to submit to a breath or blood test. Even if you simply choose not to respond to the officer, instead of blatantly refusing, you will still be charged. A “no response” still counts as a refusal under the law. These charges will be prosecuted under the same statute as all DWI charges. The penalties are just as severe.
Should I Refuse a Blood or Breath Sample?
The quick answer is “no.” Refusing a breath or blood test is generally not a good move. Many drivers mistakenly believe that refusing to submit to a breathalyzer will put them in a better legal position than actually taking the test. Unfortunately, not only is this not the case, but it will also add an additional charge of refusal to submit.
Moreover, a refusal can be taken as an admission that you were, in fact, driving under the influence of a controlled substance. New Jersey law is an “implied consent” statute, which means that by driving in the state you will have agreed to abide by the traffic laws. Such consent includes taking a breath sample if pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving.
Defenses to a Refusal Charge
Just like DWI charges, there are some defenses you can use to fight a refusal charge. The first logical defense is to challenge the underlying motor vehicle stop itself. Police officers routinely make errors when pulling motorists over. If they did not have a legitimate reason for pulling you over, your case should be dismissed.
Another defense to a refusal charge is to challenge the probable cause for even asking to test your breath or get a blood sample. The police need some good reason to believe you may be intoxicated to actually having you step out of the car for a field sobriety test or breath test.
Contact Us Today!
If you have been arrested for a DWI offense, you should discuss your case, including any other related charges, with an experienced New Jersey DWI attorney. For more information or to schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled attorneys, please call Beninato & Matrafajlo Attorneys at Law, LLC at 908-355-7100.