Refusing to Submit a Breath Sample
When you operate a motor vehicle in New Jersey, you give your “implied consent” to submit to a chemical DWI test for determining your blood-alcohol concentration (BAC). If you refuse to give a breath sample after being arrested for a DWI/DUI, you face severe penalties — including the suspension of your driver’s license.
In this blog, our New Jersey DWI/DUI defense lawyer, Matthew V. Portella, explains the law and provides an overview of the consequences of refusing to submit a breath sample.
Understanding Implied Consent in New Jersey
New Jersey has a strict implied consent law. It applies to drivers who have a New Jersey driver’s license and drivers who live out of state and are simply driving through the state.
Under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.2(e), any motorist operating a vehicle on New Jersey public roadways is 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.” A driver who violates this obligation is subject to statutory and administrative sanctions.
Know Your Rights: An Officer Must Inform You of the Penalties for Non-Compliance with Giving a Breath Sample
Prior to administering a breath test on a driver, state and local law enforcement officers in New Jersey must advise people of the consequences and penalties associated with a refusal to submit breath samples. If the police officer fails to read the implied consent warning — Standard Statement — which outlines the penalties, you may have grounds to have the refusal charge dismissed.
The Penalties for Refusing to Submit to a Breath Test in New Jersey
Similar to the penalties associated with a DWI offense, the penalties for refusal to give a breath sample escalate with each offense. If you have a prior DWI refusal on your record, you will face harsher penalties.
The penalties are:
- First-Time DWI Refusal: A $300-$500 fine, at least 12 hours in educational programs at an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center, and forfeiture of driver’s license until an interlock ignition device is installed in the vehicle and remains for at least 9 months.
- Second-Time DWI Refusal: A $500-$1,000 fine, referral and program requirements of an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center, forfeiture of driver’s license for 1-2 years, and the installation of an interlock ignition device in the vehicle for at least 2 years beginning after its installation and the return of the driver’s license
- Third-Time and Subsequent DWI Refusal: A $1,000 fine, referral and program requirements of the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center, forfeiture of driver’s license for 8 years, and the installation of an interlock ignition device in the vehicle for at least 2 years beginning after its installation and the return of the driver’s license.
Notably, refusing to give a breath sample will not necessarily stop New Jersey prosecutors from pursuing DWI charges. You may be convicted of a DWI without a BAC reading (because you refused to give a breath sample) based upon whether you exhibited signs of being intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle. If you are facing refusal or DWI charges, you should strongly consider hiring an experienced DWI/DUI attorney.
Call Our New Jersey DWI Refusal Attorney for Immediate Help
At the Law Office of Matthew V. Portella, LLC, our New Jersey drunk driving defense lawyer is an experienced and competent advocate for drivers charged with DWI and Refusal. If you have any questions about DWI refusals, we can help. Call or contact us online to schedule a strictly confidential consultation.
From our law offices in Haddonfield and Pleasantville, we serve communities throughout Southern New Jersey, including but not limited to Atlantic County, Burlington County, Camden County, Cape May County, Cumberland County, Gloucester County, and Salem County.