Attorney for Refusal of a Breath Test
Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious offense in New Jersey and a conviction for DWI can mean jail time, costly fines, suspension of your driver’s license, and more. However, many individuals who are suspected of drunk driving can experience consequences well before a conviction and even if they are never convicted. One reason you may face such consequences without a conviction is if you refused to submit to a breath test or another chemical test when the officer requested it.
DWI cases involving breath test refusal can have many complications and additional penalties resulting from the alleged refusal. If you have refused a breath test or have been accused of doing so, you should contact an experienced refusal defense attorney at the Law Office of Ronald J. Brandmayr, Jr. for more information on how we can help you.
Refusal to Submit to a Breath Test
One of the main pieces of evidence that a prosecutor can have in a DWI case is the result of a chemical test indicating your blood alcohol content (BAC). Breath tests are often requested by police for a number of reasons, including gaining probable cause to arrest someone they suspect to be intoxicated. A breath test can give a roadside reading of a person’s BAC and, if it is over the legal limit of 0.08 percent, the police have concrete evidence to support the constitutionality of an arrest. In addition, the prosecutor can then rely on that breath test reading to seek a conviction.
While breath test results can assist authorities in DWI cases, police officers cannot force you to submit to a breath test. In fact, NJ law prohibits officers from forcibly administering a breath test if you are resisting against the test. You can refuse to participate and then officers and prosecutors will have to rely on other evidence to pursue your DWI charges. However, refusal is not without its own potential consequences due to New Jersey’s implied consent law.
Every state in the U.S. has an “implied consent” law that states that anyone who drives a vehicle then consents to a chemical test if a law enforcement officer has reasonable grounds to suspect that the driver is intoxicated. An officer must also inform the driver that there are penalties if they refuse to agree to a chemical test. While there are consequences to refusal, you do have the right to do so and many people refuse a test without fully understanding the possible consequences.
The penalties for a breath test refusal can be serious and can escalate if you have refused breath tests in the past. The following are the potential consequences of refusal in NJ:
for 7 months; $300 to $500 fine
for 2 years; $500 to $1000 fine
for 10 years; $1000 fine
The consequences of refusal can be doubled if you were allegedly driving drunk on or near school grounds. The penalties can be enforced even if you are not ultimately convicted of the DWI offense and if you are convicted of DWI, these penalties are in addition to the fines and license suspension included in your DWI sentence.
Defense for Refusal Charges
Refusal to submit to a breath test can result in very serious consequences. For this reason, you need to contact an experienced defense attorney who can start working on your case as soon as possible. There are some legal defenses that may be available in a refusal case depending on your situation. For example:
- Confusion or lack of understanding of your obligation to give a breath sample.
- The officer did not request that you submit to a breath test.
- The officer did not have reasonable grounds to believe you were driving while intoxicated.
- You were physically incapable of giving a breath sample due to a medical condition such as asthma or due to trauma from an accident.
Discuss your Case with a NJ Defense Attorney as Soon as Possible
Freehold defense attorney Ronald Brandmayr has helped many individuals facing both DWI and refusal cases. He has the experience and understanding of New Jersey law that is necessary to present a successful defense in your refusal case. The sooner you call for a consultation, the sooner we can begin investigating your case and building a defense strategy. Please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Ronald J. Brandmayr, Jr. for help today at 732-409-5195.