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Refusal To Submit To A Breath Test

refusal charge in NJ can have dire consequences for you. Did you know that you have to submit to the taking of breath samples for chemical analysis when required? Many years ago, this law did not exist because we did not have the technology for a reliable measure of your blood alcohol content level. When the technology became available, drivers would simply refuse to take the test. This led to a lack of evidence on the State’s side. As a result, our legislature enacted the implied consent statute requiring every driver using the roadways and quasi-public areas in New Jersey to submit to a breath test when requested.

Basically, if the officer has probable cause to believe that you are operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs based on his perceptions, training, experience or a totality of the circumstances, he can ask you to submit to a breath test.

Obviously, if you say “no” in response to taking a breath test, that is considered a refusal. However, did you know that not responding or asking questions about the test while hesitating to give an answer can be considered a refusal! If the officer believes you are refusing to take the breath test, you will receive a charge for refusing to submit to the breath test. This is in addition to possibly still being charged with a DUI based on observation by the officer. 

N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.2 Consent To Taking Samples Of Breath

  1. Under this statute, any person who operates a motor vehicle on a public road, highway, street, or quasi-public street in New Jersey has automatically given his/her consent to having a breath, urine or blood sample taken for the purpose of determining what that person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is at the that time.
  2. The police MUST HAVE REASONABLE GROUNDS to believe that you are operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs.
  3. The Police offer MUST inform you of your rights.
  4. A copy of the results shall be provided to you upon request.
  5. In addition to the samples and tests made at the direction of the officer, you are permitted to have such samples and test made by a person or doctor of your own selection.
  6. No test or specimen may be made or taken forcibly and against physical resistance.  HOWEVER, the police will notify you of the consequences of refusing to submit to the test.


Mandatory Fines And Penalties

1st Offense:

  1. $300-$500 fine
  2. driver’s license suspension until ignition interlock device installed
  3. minimum 6 hours a day for two consecutive days in IDRC
  4. installation of interlock device for 9-15 months after driver’s license restored
  5. auto insurance surcharge of $1,000 for 3 years
  6. $100 surcharge to Drunk Driving Enforcement fund

2nd Offense:

  1. $500-$1,000 fine
  2. 1-2 year driver’s license suspension following ignition interlock device installed
  3. 48 hours consecutive detainment in IDRC
  4. installation of interlock device for 2-4 years after driver’s license restored
  5. auto insurance surcharge of $1,000 for 3 years
  6. $100 surcharge to Drunk Driving Enforcement fund

3rd Offense:

  1. $1,000 fine
  2. 8 year driver’s license suspension following ignition interlock device installed
  3. installation of interlock device for 2-4 years after driver’s license restored
  4. auto insurance surcharge of $1,500 for 3 years
  5. $100 surcharge to Drunk Driving Enforcement fund

Can I Remain Silent?

Unfortunately, silence does not work either. When the officer asks you to submit to a breath test and you remain silent, this is considered sufficient evidence to amount to a refusal. Sometimes a person may think they have a right to refuse and therefore, stay silent. Sometimes things may just be happening too quickly for the person to process. No matter what the reason to remain silent or expressly refuse the test, you are being charged with refusal.​

What Languages Are The Refusal Statement Written In?
In 2010, State v. Marquez, 202 N.J. 485 (2010) was presented with the issue of an individual who was stopped for a DUI and refused to take a breath test. The problem was that the person stopped, did not speak or understand English. Therefore, how can he be expected to understand the standard statement of penalties that an officer is required to read to a person who refuses the breath test? As a result, our court concluded that the police must convey the information on the standard statement in a language the person speaks or understands. Consequently, the standard statement is now written in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.​

Want To Talk To A New Jersey Refusal Charge Attorney? 

Call us at 609-392-7600 to discuss your case. Make sure the lawyer you hire is experienced, like us, in handling this type of ticket. Otherwise, you will have a few surprises you were not warned of.

We handle refusal offenses in Mercer County, Middlesex County, and Burlington County. 

Mercer County: Hamilton, Trenton, Ewing, Lawrence, Pennington, East Windsor, West Windsor, Hopewell, Princeton Township, Princeton Borough, Hightstown, and Robbinsville.

Middlesex County: Plainsboro, Cranbury, East Brunswick, South Brunswick, and Sayreville.

Burlington County: Bordentown, Burlington City, Burlington Township, Moorestown, Mount Laurel, Willingboro, Mt. Holly, Florence, and Pemberton.