Being stopped by a police officer who suspects you may be driving while intoxicated can be a scary and intimidating situation. The protocols can be confusing, and many people do not understand their rights in this situation. It’s important to know your rights and be able to protect yourself in these situations.
During DWI stops many police officers use a breathalyzer test to determine your blood alcohol content and prove cause for arrest. You may have heard from friends or relatives that you can legally refuse this test. Can you?
Are You Allowed To Refuse?
In New Jersey everyone who operates a vehicle on the road is subject to the “implied consent” law. That means that by driving you have given your consent to chemical testing of your breath should you be stopped for DWI. This means that unfortunately, you are not legally allowed to refuse a breathalyzer test and you could face serious consequences for doing so.
What Are The Consequences?
Drivers who refuse a breathalyzer test can face various penalties including:
- License revocation
Both of which increase depending on the number of prior offenses.
What can you do if you are stopped for a DWI and fear you may not pass a breathalyzer test? Submitting to the test may be the smartest course of action. A criminal prosecutor may use your refusal against you in court and you may be charged with DWI even without the test. Refusing the test can also limit your options for defense in court.
While drinking and driving is never a good idea, many people make mistakes and it can be easy to misjudge how much you’ve had to drink. When this happens, talking to an experienced defense attorney can help. The right defense attorney can also help you combat the charges for refusing a breath test, if you decided to do so.