Getting pulled over by the police for suspected drunk driving is stressful. You may be worried about how it will affect your life in the long term. You may be concerned about whether you need to take a breath test upon request by the police. There are consequences for a DUI refusal. If you are concerned about these consequences or DUI charges, you should consult the New Jersey DUI attorneys at the Grimes Law Firm.DUI Refusal
Like other crimes, a DUI must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. One of the ways in which prosecutors establish a DUI is through a breath or other chemical test. In New Jersey, anybody who drives a motor vehicle on a highway or public road in the state has given implied consent to a breath test when an officer asks for it based on suspected drunk driving. The breath test is administered to determine the content of alcohol in a suspect’s blood.
The officer needs to have probable cause to believe that you were under the influence when they ask you to take the breath test. If you refuse a breath test for a suspected DUI, the officer should let you know what the consequences of your refusal are.
It is important to be aware that anything less than your unambiguous agreement may be interpreted as a refusal to submit to the breath test. However, this does not mean that your conviction for a DUI or penalties related to refusal are certain. Instead, your lawyer will need to look at all the circumstances to determine a defense. For example, if there were language barriers that prevented you from understanding the consequences of your refusal, we may be able to defend on those grounds. For the DUI refusal to be upheld, the police are supposed to let you know the consequences in a language that you can understand.Penalties for DUI Refusal in New Jersey
Various penalties can be imposed under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.4 if you refuse to submit to the breath test. Your right to operate a motor vehicle may be revoked by the municipal court if you were arrested for a DUI and refused to submit to a breath test upon request. The revocation will be for seven months to one year, except when the refusal was connected to a second or subsequent DUI. When the refusal is connected to a second offense, the revocation period will be two years. When the refusal is connected to a third or subsequent DUI, your license will be revoked for 10 years. Convictions for substantially similar offenses or administrative determinations that occur in other jurisdictions can count toward these rules for prior convictions.Probable Cause
The municipal court is supposed to decide whether it is more likely than not that the officer who arrested you had probable cause to believe that you were driving or in actual physical control of a car on a public or quasi-public road while under the influence. When elements of a violation are not established, there will not be a conviction. Additionally, if your license is revoked for not submitting to a test, you will be referred to an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center. There, you will need to satisfy certain requirements in connection with your offense and prior convictions.
If you are convicted, the municipal court will not only issue a revocation but also require you to install an ignition interlock device in your car. For a first offense, the fine is $300-$500. For a second offense, the fine is $500-$1,000. For a third or subsequent offense, the fine is $1,000. The fines are harsher if a violation happens on school property or within 1,000 feet of such property, regardless of whether you were aware that it was a school or whether children were present at the time.Consult a Seasoned New Jersey Attorney
Prosecutors and courts in New Jersey take a DUI refusal seriously. In general, it is not wise to refuse the breath test. If you do, and you are charged with a DUI, it is imperative to retain a seasoned attorney. At the Grimes Law Firm, we defend people charged with DUI throughout Somerset County and elsewhere in New Jersey. Call us at (908) 371-1066 or contact us via our online form.