Breath Test Refusal Attorney in Hudson County, NJ
If you were pulled over under suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol in Hudson County, a New Jersey police officer might administer field sobriety tests or a breathalyzer test to determine if you are intoxicated and, if so, to what degree.
It might seem like a good idea at the moment to say no, but a refusal to submit to an alcohol breathalyzer test in Hudson County, NJ, can have serious consequences – sometimes as severe as those resulting from a DUI charge.
Refusing to take a breath alcohol test is against the law in New Jersey, and you could face heavy fines and a license suspension if convicted. However, there are potential defenses to breath test refusal charges. A skilled criminal defense attorney from William Proetta Criminal Law can work to mitigate the penalties.
Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation with our breath test refusal attorneys in Hudson County.
What Is a Breathalyzer Test?
A breathalyzer is a device police departments use to determine someone’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). DUI charges are assessed if your BAC is over 0.08 percent alcohol. You could face stiffer penalties if your BAC is higher than 0.15 percent.
The device measures the alcohol content of your breath and returns a reading. You blow into the mouthpiece, exhaling for several seconds. While these tests are accepted as proof in court that someone is intoxicated, there can be errors in the testing process that could affect the outcome of your case.
Can You Refuse a Breath Test in NJ?
You could refuse to take a breath test in New Jersey, but by doing so, you open yourself to an arrest for breaking New Jersey’s refusal law. It’s best to politely cooperate with the police.
What Happens When You Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?
A refusal to submit to an alcohol breathalyzer doesn’t mean that you won’t be convicted of a DUI. If you refuse the test, you could be arrested at the scene, taken into custody, and subjected to a urine or blood screening to determine your BAC.
New Jersey sets forth strict penalties for refusing to take a breath test. You could end up being charged with violating the refusal law and a DUI.
What Is Implied Consent?
New Jersey’s implied consent law specifies that every driver licensed in New Jersey consents to submitting to a chemical BAC test upon the request of a New Jersey law enforcement officer. When you sign for a driver’s license, you are consenting to submit to chemical testing if requested to do so.
What Are the Penalties for Refusing a Breath Test?
In New Jersey, refusing to take a breath test results in penalties specified by law.
Those penalties include:
- Penalties for a First Offense
- Suspended driver’s license until you install an ignition interlock device (IID)
- IID installed for 9 to 15 months after license is restored
- Fines ranging from $300 to $500
- Referral to an intoxicated driver resource center, minimum of 6 hours per day for 2 consecutive days
- Auto insurance surcharge of $1,000 per year for three years
- Penalties for a Second Offense
- Suspended driver’s license for 1 to 2 years
- IID in your vehicle for 2 to 4 years after license is restored
- Fines ranging from $500 to $1,000
- 48 hours of consecutive detainment at an intoxicated driver resource center
- Auto insurance surcharge of $1,000 per year for 3 years
- Penalties for a Third Offense
- Suspended driver’s license for 8 years
- An IID in your car for 2 to 4 years after your license is reinstated
- A fine of $1,000
- Referral to an intoxicated driver resource center
- Auto insurance surcharge of $1,500 per year for 3 years
- $100 surcharge for the Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund
Potential Defenses to Refusing a Breath Test
After a refusal to take a breathalyzer test in NJ, you’re likely wondering if there are any defenses that could reduce your penalties or even exonerate you of the charges entirely. If you’re represented by our experienced Hudson County DUI defense lawyers, you will likely have a much better chance of achieving a positive outcome than if you were defending yourself.
The defenses your breath test refusal lawyer employs will depend on your unique situation.
Some common defenses that our legal team could use include:
- Officer error – If the officer administering your breathalyzer test did not read the complete DMV Standard Statement 36 to you, you could argue that you would not have refused the test if you had been made aware of the consequences of refusing. It is like a Miranda Rights warning that an arresting officer gives people.
- Physical limitations – Some people, such as those with asthma, COPD, respiratory issues, or other trauma, are physically incapable of providing a breath sample. Your attorney could prove that this is the reason you did not take the test or why you couldn’t complete it properly. Your attorney may engage an expert medical witness to attest to your physical inability.
- Confusion about legal obligation – If you didn’t understand what the police explained about your rights or if they gave you incorrect information about the penalties for refusing to take the test, your lawyer may be able to use this defense.
- Lack of probable cause – If the arresting officer had no probable cause to pull you over in the first place or to believe that you were in physical control over the vehicle, the arrest may have been invalid.
- Test errors – You could have a valid defense if there were errors in analyzing blood or urine samples that affected the test results, or if there was a break in the chain of custody of your blood or urine sample.
- Lack of evidence – If the prosecution does not have enough valid evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the infraction, you could have a good defense.
Get Help from Our Hudson County DUI Defense Attorneys Now
Are you worried about the consequences of refusing to take a breath test after being pulled over for a DUI in Hudson County? Do you need help fighting the consequences of a breath test refusal? The chemical test refusal lawyers at William Proetta Criminal Law stand ready to protect your rights and fight for the best possible outcome in your case.
Contact us today for a free and confidential case review.