New Jersey has a special rule with regard to traffic stops that most drivers are not aware of, called the implied consent rule. Under the implied consent law, New Jersey residents give implied consent to submit to a breathalyzer test when they obtain their drivers licenses.
Under New Jersey’s “implied consent” law, you are required to take a breath test if you are lawfully arrested by a law enforcement agency. The key is that the officer must have probable cause to believe you were driving while intoxicated in order for the “implied consent” law to kick in. After you are arrested and the officer has requested a breath test, he or she should tell you your rights if you submit to the test.
However, although you may have consented to taking a chemical test of your breath, you cannot be forced to take one. In some cases, if you refuse a breath test, you may be arrested and transported to a hospital where medical staff may draw blood to test your blood alcohol content (BAC).
Penalties for Refusal
Penalties for refusing a breath test are not much different than the penalties associated with drunk driving. If you refuse to take the breathalyzer test, you may be subject to between 7 months and one year of license suspension, or up to 2 years if you were driving in a school zone. You can be assessed more than $1000 in fines for three years ($3000 total). You may also be ordered to attend 12 hours minimum of education classes at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center.
The penalties for refusing a breath test increase in severity depending on whether it is your first, second or third offense within 10 years. Ultimately, you could lose your license for up to 10 years, or 20 years if you were driving in a school zone, and can be assessed fees and surcharges up to $1500 each year for three years ($4500 total).
If you have been charged with a DWI or refused to submit to a breathalyzer test, only an experienced New Jersey DWI attorney can advise you of your rights. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with an experienced New Jersey DWI attorney, please call the Law Offices of Dan T. Matrafajlo at (908) 248-4404.