Under the implied consent laws in New Jersey, all drivers implicitly consent to submit to a Breathalyzer if requested to do so by a law enforcement officer.
You may have heard that it may be beneficial to refuse a breath test so that prosecutors will have a more difficult time convicting you of drunk driving. However, refusing a breath test can result in serious consequences and may not be in your best interest.
What happens if you refuse a breath test?
If you refuse to submit to a breath test, you should be aware of what you may be facing. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
You could still be charged with a DWI
If you refuse a breath test, it is inferred that you refused the test because you knew you were intoxicated. Additionally, if prosecutors have other evidence, such as police observations and field sobriety test results, they may have more than enough to charge you with a DWI, even without breath test results.
There are penalties for refusing a breath test
Under New Jersey law, if this is your first DWI offense, a breath test refusal will result in the suspension of your license for seven to 12 months and a $300 to $500 fine.
If you are a repeat DWI offender, a second breath test refusal will result in a two-year license suspension and $500 to $1,000 in fines and a third breath test refusal will result in 10-year license suspension and $1,000 in fines.
In addition to license suspension and fines, you may be required to place an ignition interlock in your vehicle for a period and take several hours of an alcohol education course.
You could be charged with “refusal to submit”
In New Jersey, a “refusal to submit” charge is a separate charge from a DWI and has its own penalties. Several actions may constitute a refusal including remaining silent or attempting to delay the test.
If you are facing refusal to submit or DWI charges, a criminal defense attorney may be able to come up with an effective defense strategy.