If you ask any motorist out there on the road if they ever drink and drive, the collective answer will most likely be ‘no’. Not only is it illegal, but most people are against the idea of getting behind the wheel while intoxicated and putting other drivers at risk. However, it doesn’t mean it never happens. Many drivers don’t even realize that they may be driving home after dinner with their blood alcohol level over the legal limit. It can be somewhat difficult to measure when you’ve had too much or when you’ve legally had too much. That’s why many people will often ask what happens when you refuse a breathalyzer test in New Jersey.
Will you be charged with a DUI regardless? Or is it better to not provide proof of any blood alcohol level? Can you legally avoid taking any sort of breathalyzer test, field sobriety test, blood or urine test?
What is Implied Consent?
When DUI lawyers inevitably receive the question, “Is it better to refuse a breathalyzer test in New Jersey?”, their answers usually begin by defining implied consent. Implied consent is like an unspoken pact you make with your state’s law enforcement. When you obtain a driver’s license and venture out onto New Jersey’s public roads and highways, you’re automatically giving consent. This consent includes permission for an officer to give you a blood alcohol test or breathalyzer test.
By refusing to take the test, you’re basically breaking this pact and the law. While some might believe that refusing a test can save you from DUI charges, the fact of the matter is that you will indeed be charged even if you refuse. A police officer needs probable cause in these situations. If you’re pulled over because an officer believes you may be intoxicated, and you refuse to take a breathalyzer test, you can still face charges. The breathalyzer test is simply there to provide a measurement of your blood alcohol level. However, it’s important to remember that they cannot force you to take a breathalyzer test.
Can You Be Charged if You’re Not Driving?
The state of New Jersey takes DUI cases very seriously. Their goal is to keep New Jersey’s roads as safe as possible, which is why DUI laws are so strict. Even if you’re not driving and you refuse a blood alcohol test, you can still be charged with a DUI. For instance, if you decide to let another person, who is also intoxicated, to drive you home in your vehicle, you can be charged with a DUI. If you are drunk and you decide to pull over and sleep it off, you can still be charged with a DUI if you’re in the driver’s seat and the keys are anywhere near the ignition. These and other scenarios will commonly surprise drivers when they’re suddenly in the company of law enforcement.
When You Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in New Jersey
Overall, most legal experts agree that it’s not necessarily helpful to refuse a breathalyzer test in New Jersey. This includes field sobriety tests, such as walking in straight lines, blood, or urine tests in addition to breathalyzer tests. When breaking implied consent and refusing to provide your blood alcohol level, the prosecutors may decide to use this against you if your case goes to court. They’re likely to believe that your blood alcohol level was well over the .08% legal limit and this is the reason why you’ve refused the test. Refusing to take the breathalyzer for the first time may result in a 7 month suspension of your license and fines ranging from $300-$500. If you refuse to take a test for the second time you can lose your license for two years and pay fines ranging from $500-$1000.
If you refuse to take a breathalyzer test for the third time, you can possibly lose your license for up to 10 years. You’re also required to pay fines of $1000 or more. It’s important to also remember that if you’re pulled over anywhere near school grounds, your refusal to take a breathalyzer means your penalties and fines are doubled.
For More Information
Hopefully, the information in this article helps to shed more light on the idea of implied consent and what happens when you refuse a breathalyzer test in New Jersey. However, if you’ve recently been pulled over and refused a blood alcohol test, it’s vital to have an experienced DUI lawyer on your side. A DUI lawyer can examine the officer’s explanation for probable cause and the series of events that happened the day of your arrest. There are many instances of injustice when it comes to DUI charges and your lawyer will be there to explore all of these possibilities. Contact a DUI lawyer today to learn more about your options.