If the police stop you for a possible DUI/DWI and they tell you to blow into the Alcotest for blood levels, you MUST do this. New Jersey’s implied consent law requires that drivers provide a breath sample if they are pulled over for suspicion of driving while intoxicated.
Even if you had a lot to drink and might think it’s better to refuse a breath test, it’s NOT. Refusal charges can damage your defense to a DUI. You will no longer be able to challenge the proper working of the machine, or your ability to perform the field sobriety tests properly.
Even if you did not drink and cannot be proven guilty of the DUI, a refusal’s penalty is typically equally severe, and often worse, and you will always lose your license if convicted of refusal. EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT INTOXICATED! It is in your best interest to comply with the police and later look to challenge the stop and the machine readings in court before a judge.
For a first offense, conviction of a refusal requires a mandatory loss of license ranging from 7 months to 12 months. In addition, you must have an interlock (the machine that goes into your car and requires a breath sample before your engine starts every time) installed in your car for a minimum of 6 months up to 2 years after being convicted of a refusal. Additionally, there will be fines above and beyond the DUI fines that will be owed into Court.
Defenses to a Refusal
Upon request to provide a breath sample, police officers are required to read your rights under the “New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission Standard Statement for Operators of a Motor Vehicle.” There is a very specific form which has been approved by the New Jersey’s Attorney Generals’ Office which must be read word for word that details all of the penalties you face for not providing a valid breath sample. If the police officer fails to read this form, it can be used as a defense to fight a refusal charge.
Additionally, if English is not your first language, and you do not understand what the police are saying, you might have some defenses if the police did not provide an interpreter for you to let you know what your penalties will be.
If stopped by the police and asked to provide a breath sample, do it. IF you don’t you are giving up many possible defenses to the underlining DUI and in return are facing harsher penalties.
David W. Polsky, Esquire has assisted clients in Totowa, New Jersey with DUI and traffic cases for over 25 years. Visit him at www.Polskylegal.com, or on Facebook at Law Offices of David W. Polsky with any questions.