NJ DUI/DWI Defense: Refusal to Take a Breathalyzer Test
One of the largest misconceptions about DWI laws in New Jersey involves the administration of the breathalyzer test and whether or not a person can lawfully refuse one. New Jersey’s implied consent law indicates that all licensed drivers give an implicit agreement between themselves and the state to submit to chemical tests in exchange for the privilege of driving. In the event that a police officer lawfully pulls you over and has probable cause to believe that you were operating your vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, refusing to submit to a chemical test (which includes breathalyzer tests) is a violation of the law and subject to fines and license suspension.
The worst part is that refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test does not preclude you from being charged with and convicted of a DWI. The police do not have to know your blood alcohol content to charge you with drunk driving.
In almost all situations, refusing to take a breathalyzer test in New Jersey is a bad idea that will lead to more trouble. There are, however, some defense strategies available to you to limit or avoid any possible repercussions. If you or someone close to you has been charged with refusing to take a breathalyzer test or any other DWI-related offenses in New Jersey, contact Hackensack criminal defense attorney Frank T. Luciano immediately. He will use his more than three decades of experience to help you defeat the charges or reduce your sentence.
Defending a Refusal Charge in New Jersey
By law, a police officer cannot physically force you to take a breathalyzer test. Because of this, many people falsely assume that if they refuse the test, they cannot possibly be charged with a DWI or face any penalty at all. As discussed above, not only are there penalties for refusing to take a breathalyzer test in New Jersey, you are also not immune to DWI charges even in the absence of an alcohol breathalyzer test.
Penalties for Breathalyzer Test Refusal
- 1st Offense: 7-month license suspension; $300-$500 fine
- 2nd Offense: 2-year license suspension; $500-$1,000 fine
- 3rd Offense: 10-year license suspension; $1,000 fine
In addition to the penalties listed above, the state may impose a mandatory intoxicated driver program, yearly surcharges and other fees. This will all come on top of any punishments you receive for a DWI conviction.
Your defense strategy for refusing to take a breathalyzer test will be found within the details of your case, which is why you need a skilled attorney on your side. Did the police follow proper procedure? Were you lawfully stopped? Was there probable cause? Did you clearly understand the ramifications of your refusal? There are multiple procedural aspects of your refusal charge that must be thoroughly examined to see if there are any viable defense strategies. If nothing else, your attorney may be able to negotiate a plea bargain to minimize some of the damage.
Contact Frank T. Luciano for Help
Defending yourself against a New Jersey refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test charge or any other DWI-related charge is daunting and can quickly overwhelm you. The state prosecution and judge will not take mercy on you because of your lack of experience, and you may end up accepting a harsher punishment than necessary. The best thing you can do if you’ve been charged with refusal to take a breathalyzer test in New Jersey is contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Frank T. Luciano is a veteran defense lawyer who has helped clients in Hackensack, Jersey City, Elmwood Park, Paramus, Fort Lee and many other areas throughout Northern New Jersey for over 38 years. There’s no situation he hasn’t seen or successfully helped a client navigate through. With your driving privileges on the line, don’t trust just anyone. Trust Frank T. Luciano to fight for the best possible outcome. Call 973-471-0004 right away.