Even though there are a number of ways to challenge the results of a breathalyzer test that lead to a DWI in court, some people decide to refuse the test altogether. We highly recommend you take the test no matter the circumstances. Refusing to take a breathalyzer test after being arrested for a DWI can only make your situation worse.
Even though you have the ability to refuse the test doesn’t mean it’s legal to. New Jersey follows what’s called “implied consent laws” in which a person consents to take chemical tests in exchange for the privilege of a driver’s license. If you’ve been pulled over and arrested for a DWI, refusing to take a breathalyzer test can have just as severe penalties as the DWI itself. Refusing the test results in the same fines and penalties as a DWI, however they are more costly and do not include jail time.
It’s much smarter to just submit to the test because it is easier for the prosecution to prove that you refused the test than to prove that you were driving while intoxicated. Submitting to the test allows for the possibility of a reading under 0.08% or for the officer to make a mistake in protocol, both of which can dismiss your case. If you refuse to take the test in the first place, neither of these are possible and you will end up with penalties regardless.
Consenting to the test also allows you to cut your losses where a BAC between 0.08% and 0.10% will result in a 3 month suspension of your license whereas refusing the test results in a 7 month suspension.
It is also possible to be convicted of a DWI AND the refusal of a DWI. You do NOT want to be stuck with the penalties of both.
Although it is highly recommended that you take the test, it’s not impossible to beat refusal charge. Officers are required to read to you a warning called Paragraph 36 that details the consequence of refusing the breath test before administering the breathalyzer. If the officer fails to read this or warns you in an unclear manner, you can easily fight the charges. Challenging the legality of the initial stop and the officer’s basis of probable cause are two more strategies used to dismiss a refusal charge. If the arresting officer pulls you over for no good reason and does not provide probable cause that you were driving while intoxicated, a good DWI defense attorney can put an end to the prosecution’s case.
Whether you’ve been arrested for a DWI, have refused to take the breath test, or both, the skilled defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Jef Henninger, Esq. are here to fight aggressively for your rights and to ensure the best possible outcome for our clients.