Penalties for Refusing to Submit to a Breath Test Under New Jersey Law
- Dan T. Matrafajlo
- Mon Nov 2020
If you are pulled over for a suspected driving while intoxicated (DWI), you will be subject to a breath test. While your first reaction would be not to comply, even if you think you haven’t had much to drink or not even had any to drink, that is the wrong move. There is a narrow exception to this rule, and a consultation with a qualified attorney to discuss the exception is advisable.
New Jersey implied consent laws mean individuals who choose to drive on public roadways in the state of New Jersey effectively surrender their right to refuse a sobriety or a breath test. Drivers who unlawfully refuse a breath test can face consequences even if they are later acquitted (or never charged with) of a DWI.
Elements the Prosecution Must Meet to Prove a Refusal of Breath Test Under NJ Law
In a refusal case, the prosecution must prove the following elements, by a preponderance of the evidence, namely:
1. Reasonable and articulable suspicion that the defendant operated a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
2. During the roadside stop, the officer must find ques of impairment displayed by the motorist, such as slurring, blood shot eyes, odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating from the vehicle.
3. If element #2 is satisfied the investigating officer may ask the motorist to carryout various field sobriety tests, such as: which may include walk and turn test, one leg stand test, and HGN. Only if the Motorist fails the field sobriety tests can he or she be placed under arrest for DWI.
4. At the police station the defendant/motorist must be read a standard statement in his or her native language. The defendant must display some level of comprehension when read the statement. After a motorist has been read the “standardized statement” the motorist must provide “unequivocal consent”. Anything less is tantamount to refusing, for example:
- Insufficient number of breath samples (a DWI driver must provide at least 2 breath samples and the refusal to do so constitutes a refusal)
- Provide only a short sample (such as pretending to blow into the device or blowing a very short breath)
- Delay in the administration of the breath test
Consequences of Refusal to Submit a Breath Test
Refusal to submit to a breath test holds the following penalties:
– 1st Offense – $300-$500 fine and a license suspension until ignition interlock device installed. A minimum of six hours a day for two consecutive days in an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center
– 2nd Offense – $500-$1,000 fine and a 1 to 2-year license suspension following installation of ignition interlock device. 48 hours consecutive detainment in Intoxicated Driver Resource Center
– 3rd Offense – $1,000 fine and an 8-year license suspension following installation of ignition interlock device
– Installation of an ignition interlock device for a period of 9 to 15 months after license restoration for the 1st offense, 2 years to 4 years for the 2nd and 3rd offenses
– Automobile insurance surcharge of $1,000 a year for 3 years for 1st and 2nd offenses, $1,500 for 3rd offense
– A $100 surcharge to be deposited in the Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund
– Referral to an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center
Call Us Today!
If you have been arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence, you can count on the experienced and knowledgeable New Jersey DWI attorneys at Beninato & Matrafajlo Attorneys at Law, LLC to get protect your legal rights.
Call us at 908-355-7100 to schedule a complimentary consultation with one our driving while intoxicated lawyers today.