Before arresting you for driving while intoxicated, officers must have probable cause that you are doing something unlawful. Probable cause is a comparatively high legal standard that requires officers to have reasonable grounds for making an arrest. Therefore, they cannot arrest you on impulse or intuition.
If you fail a DWI breath test, though, you give officers probable cause to support your arrest. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that officers routinely use these tests to identify suspected drunk drivers. In fact, as the New Jersey State Police notes, officers in the Garden State perform upwards of 25,000 DWI breath tests every single year.
There is typically nothing wrong with forcing officers to make their case without your assistance. If you have a blood alcohol concentration above New Jersey’s 0.08% legal limit when you breathe into a testing device, you may inadvertently incriminate yourself. Consequently, you may want to think twice before volunteering to take the test.
If you decide to refuse a DWI breath test, you must understand the implied consent law. Under implied consent, you agree to breath testing by applying for and receiving a driver’s license. Even by driving on the state’s roads, you automatically consent to chemical testing of your breath. Refusing to take the test may trigger a suspension of your driving privileges that lasts between seven months and 10 years.
Because New Jersey officers regularly use breath tests during DWI stops, it may be advisable to question whether your test’s results were accurate. Ultimately, if you can attack the validity of the test, you may be able to avoid the many consequences that often follow a DWI arrest.