Refusal to Submit to a Breath Test Attorney in Middlesex County

Woodbridge NJ Refusal Charges

In New Jersey, an “implied consent” law exists in which the operation of a motor vehicle essentially illustrates the driver’s consent to the taking of breath samples by the police to determine BAC if the officer has sufficient grounds to conduct such a test to determine your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). However, the officer can only use the breathalyzer (or Alcotest 7110) machine if he or she reasonably believes that you are driving under the influence. In order for the officer to establish the reasonable basis to conduct such a test,  he or she must be able to provide a “reasonable and articulable” belief that the driver may have been intoxicated while operating the vehicle. Such a reasonable and articulable belief may include the odor of alcohol exuding from the car of the defendant noticeable by an officer conducting a routine traffic stop or DWI checkpoint. Essentially, refusal to submit to breath or blood tests by drivers who are under suspicion bar the officer from conducting the test, but due to the implied consent law, a refusal operates as a motor vehicle offense in the same manner as DWI offenses. You can find out more about refusal charges in New Jersey by reading this page and visit our DWI resource page for more information. You can also contact the Law Offices of William Proetta Criminal Law at (732) 659-9600 for a free consultation with an experienced DWI refusal attorney.

New Jersey Implied Consent Law NJSA 39:4-50.2

New Jersey’s implied consent law is explained in section N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.2, entitled Consent to taking of samples of breath; record of test; independent test; prohibition of use of force; informing accused. This law provides the basis for a law enforcement officer to request a breath sample if the officer has reasonable grounds to believe a driver is operating a motor vehicle under the influence. The statute’s specific language is provided below for your reference:

“Any person who operates a motor vehicle on any public road, street or highway or quasi-public area in this State shall be deemed to have given his consent to the taking of samples of his breath for the purpose of making chemical tests to determine the content of alcohol in his blood; provided, however, that the taking of samples is made in accordance with the provisions of this act and at the request of a police officer who has reasonable grounds to believe that such person has been operating a motor vehicle in violation of the provisions of R.S. 39:4-50.”

In other words, by driving a vehicle in the state of New Jersey, you are implicitly consenting to a test of your level of intoxication, if the police officer operates under the rules of the law. If you do not consent to the test, you will likely be charged with breathalyzer refusal.

Penalties for Refusal in NJ

As indicated above, the penalties for Refusal in New Jersey are essentially the same as penalties incurred from Driving While Intoxicated charges.  This includes a license suspension until an ignition interlock device has been installed for between 7 months and 1 year for first offense, a driver’s license suspension for 1 to 2 years for a second offense, and suspension of your driver’s license for 8 years for a third offense. For second, third, and subsequent DWI offenses, you will also be required to have an ignition interlock device installed during the period of suspension, and for 2 to 4 years after your license is restored. Please visit our DWI and Refusal Penalties Page for more information.

Can I Refuse to Take a Breath Test in New Jersey?

If you are suspected of driving while intoxicated (DWI) in New Jersey, you may be asked to submit to a breathalyzer test. This may lead you to wonder: can I say no to a DWI breath test? It may even make sense that if you refuse to provide a breath sample, the officer won’t know if you are intoxicated or not. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Refusing to submit to a breathalyzer is its own offense in New Jersey. You may even be charged with refusal and DWI, depending on the circumstances of your case. There are other standards of proof in a DWI case that a prosecutor can use to prove intoxication. For example, field sobriety tests are commonly used to demonstrate being under the influence. The arresting officer’s observations of your driving prior to the motor vehicle stop (such as failure to maintain lane), their observations of your appearance (such as blood shot eyes), and their observations of your conduct during the course of the arrest (such as slurred speech) may also be provided in court to illustrate drunk driving. If the prosecution proves your guilt for DWI beyond a reasonable doubt, you are then faced with the penalties for a refusal charge and the penalties for a DWI.

Refusal Lawyers in New Brunswick

As you can see, the penalties for a refusal are severe. This is why it is very important to contact a skilled and experienced Refusal and DWI lawyer to challenge the state’s case against you. Will Proetta, Esq., our firm’s founding attorney, proudly holds a unique dual certification in the operation and maintenance of the Alcotest 7110- the device used by NJ law enforcement to measure BAC, and he is also a certified Standardized Field Sobriety Instructor. These unique qualifications allow him to diligently scrutinize the protocol and technicalities associated with all stages of your case- from your arrest and sobriety test to the date of your trial. If you have been charged with refusal in Middlesex County, including in Piscataway, Perth Amboy, South River, Milltown, or East Brunswick, the attorneys at the Law Offices of William Proetta Criminal Law stand ready to assist you or your loved one. Call today for a free initial consultation.

Contact our firm at (732) 659-9600 to discuss your specific refusal or DWI charges. You can also follow the links below for specific information that may apply to your case.