It used to seem like simple logic. If a person arrested on suspicion of Driving While Intoxicated (N.J.S.A. 39-4-50) just did not provide police with a breath sample for the breathalyzer, then how could he or she be arrested for drunk driving? Logical, right? Why help the police make a case against you? But this is not the reality for some time now in New Jersey. Saying no is your right, sure, but it may certainly not be in your best interest as it violates the law. Getting charged with refusal (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.2) has its own hefty fees and penalties aligned with those of a DWI charge.
Freehold Teen Refuses Breath Test
In March of this year, in Holmdel, NJ, police arrested 18-year-old teen from Freehold, for DWI and for refusing to submit to be a breath test. Holmdel police came upon his Nissan Altima around 3 am on March 15th, in the shoulder of a Holmdel Road facing the wrong way and appearing to have been in an accident. The Altima was missing a front bumper, front license plate, and front tires. Upon questioning, the teen, he was unable to provide police with any location or information regarding what he had struck or where an accident had occurred. After the Altima's bumper and front license plate were found in neighboring Colts Neck, police determined the underage driver was involved in an accident on Rte 34 in Colts Neck and then drove to Holmdel. At the scene, the young man failed field sobriety tests and would later refuse to take a breath test once in custody. The pending charges against this young man include DWI (N.J.S.A. 39-4-50), Leaving the Scene of an Accident (N.J.S.A. 39:4-129), failure to report an accident (N.J.S.A. 39:4-130) and Refusal (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.2)
Penalties for Refusing a Breath Test
- $1000+ in fines, surcharges, and fees
- License suspension of 7 months to 1 year
- Ignition interlock device
- Intoxication Driver Resource Center Classes 12-48 hours
Possible Refusal Charge Scenarios
- Flat out saying no or remaining silent after the police read the defendant warning in regards to refusal
- Completing the first breath test and then refusing to submit to a subsequent request for a breath sample
- Not giving a full breath sample (not blowing hard enough)
- Delaying tactics (like making excuses why you can't take the test)
Requirements of Police
- Breath tests are administered at least twice in order to determine an accurate reading
- Before administering a breath test, the police must read what is referred to as Paragraph 36 also known as a defendant warning or standard statement.
- Police must observe the accused for 20 minutes prior to administering the Alcotest. During this 20 minutes, the defendant cannot use chewing gum, mints, mouthwash, belch or regurgitate. Any of these can throw off the reading
- For each breath test, the police must change the mouth piece
- The officer administering the test must make sure that there are no electrical devices that could interfere with the breath test including radios and phones.
Breath Test Refusal Lawyer In Point Pleasant Beach
A refusal charge can result in stiff penalties and the loss of your driver license. Contact an experienced DWI attorney like those at Villani & DeLuca. Our attorneys have been defending clients for over 20 years. Call 732-965-3999 for a FREE case evaluation. Serving clients throughout Monmouth and Ocean Counties.
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