When the police pull you over in Bergen County, NJ on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI), you have a legal obligation to submit to a breath test if asked to do so. This obligation exists under New Jersey’s law of “implied consent.” Under the implied consent law, by driving on public roads in New Jersey, you implicitly agree that you will supply a breath sample upon request. If you refuse, you can face penalties even if you are not guilty of DUI.
However, the obligation to submit to a breath test during a DUI traffic stop is not absolute. For example, if the Bergen County officer who pulls you over does not have “reasonable grounds” to suspect that you have been driving under the influence, he or she cannot legally require you to submit to a breath test. Additionally, prior to citing you for a DUI refusal, the officer must advise you of:
- The penalties for violating New Jersey’s implied consent law;
- Your right to receive a date and time-stamped copy of your breath test results; and,
- Your right to have your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) re-tested by a physician of your choosing.
If the police do not have “reasonable grounds” to demand a breath test or do not adequately inform you of your rights, you may be able to establish complete defenses to a DUI refusal under New Jersey law.
Answers to FAQs About DUI Refusals in New Jersey
Q: What is the difference between a breath test, a breathalyzer and an Alcotest?
A breathalyzer is a type of device that was used to conduct breath tests over a decade ago in New Jersey. Today, the police in Bergen County, New Jersey use a breath testing instrument known as an Alcotest.
Q: Does New Jersey’s implied consent law apply to non-residents?
Yes. New Jersey’s implied consent law applies to both residents and non-residents. Section 39:4-50.2 of the New Jersey Statutes states, “Any person who operates a motor vehicle on any public road, street or highway or quasi-public area in [New Jersey] shall be deemed to have given his consent to the taking of samples of his breath . . . to determine the content of alcohol in his blood.”
Q: How do I know if the police had “reasonable grounds” to request a breath test during my traffic stop?
Determining whether the police had “reasonable grounds” to request a breath test requires a thorough assessment of all of the facts and circumstances surrounding your arrest. Why did the officer say he or she pulled you over? Were you showing signs of impairment? How did you behave during your traffic stop? Did you voluntarily take field sobriety tests (FSTs)? These are just some of the questions that need to be answered.
Q: What are the penalties for a DUI Refusal?
The penalties for DUI refusals are severe. For a first-time offense, a DUI Refusal can result in hundreds of dollars in fines and fees, a $1,000 annual surcharge for three years, mandatory alcohol education (at your expense) and a seven to twelve-month driver’s license suspension. An offense with a prior DUI conviction within the past ten years carries enhanced financial penalties and a two to four-year license suspension, while a violation with two or more prior DUI convictions may carry additional fines and a 10 to 20-year loss of driving privileges.
Contact Bergen County DUI Lawyer Scott A. Gorman
If you have been charged with a DUI Refusal in Bergen County, defense attorney Scott A. Gorman can help protect your rights and minimize the consequences of your arrest. To schedule a free and confidential consultation, call The Gorman Law Firm at (201) 489-9199 or request an appointment online today.