In New Jersey, a person has given “his consent to the taking of samples of his breath…to determine the content of alcohol in his blood” when the arresting officer has “reasonable grounds to believe that such person has been operating a motor vehicle” while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If the individual refuses, the police officer will read the Standard Statement that explains the penalties associated with refusal. If the individual continues to refuse to consent to a breathalyzer or Alcotest 7110 after being read this statement, then that person will most likely be charged with “refusal” pursuant to N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.2.
The penalties for Refusal to Submit to a Breath Test in New Jersey are quite severe, closely mirroring the penalties for actual DWI convictions. These penalties include:
- License Suspension. For a first offense breath test refusal, an offender faces a seven (7) month license suspension. A second offender is subject to a two (2) year license suspension. An offender with three or more breath test refusals is exposed to a ten (10) year license revocation.
- Fines. For a first offense refusal, a fine of $300-$500 will be imposed, for a second offense the fine will be between $500-$1,000, and for a third or subsequent refusal the fine will be $1,000.
- Ignition Interlock. For a first offense refusal, an ignition interlock device must be installed during the period of license suspension and for between 6 months and 1 year immediately following the restoration of the offender’s driving privileges. For any repeat offender, the interlock device must be installed during the license suspension and for a period between one (1) and three (3) years immediately following the restoration of the driver’s license.
N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.2 also requires that an officer “shall inform” the suspect of his or her rights. In New Jersey, this is usually done by way of a Standard Statement issued by the New Jersey Attorney General that clearly lists the consequences of refusal and that a police officer is required to read to a motorist suspected of driving while intoxicated. In the Marquez case, the officer did not fail to read the Standard Statement to Marquez. However, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that a driver who cannot understand English has not been “informed” of the consequences of refusal when read the Standard Statement by an officer in the English language. New Jersey police officers now have tools that they must use in order to ensure that persons pulled over under suspicion of a DWI are read a Standard Statement that clearly enumerates the consequences for a refusal in language that they fully understand in order to make an informed decision.
A DUI is serious offense that has severe penalties, including the possibilty of
- License Suspension (you can’t even drive to work)
- Fines, Surcharges, Increased Insurance Rates
- Possible Job Loss or effect on future jobs
- Effects on immigration status
I have over 25 years' experience successfully representing drivers charged with D.U.I. If you've been charged with D.U.I. call my office for free consultation. I'll explain the charges and how I can help you.
All the Best!
Randy C. Redden