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DWI charges – refusing a breath test

On Behalf of | Oct 20, 2021 | Criminal Defense

When stopped on suspicion of drunk driving, law enforcement often asks drivers to submit to alcohol breath tests. For the concern of possibly incriminating themselves, some motorists consider refusing such tests.

To protect themselves from unnecessary consequences, it behooves drivers to understand the state’s laws regarding breath testing.

Do drivers have to submit to breath testing?

According to state law, by driving in the state, people give implied consent for alcohol breath testing. To this end, motorists must provide breath samples to determine their blood alcohol concentration levels when asked by the authorities.

What are the penalties for refusing a breath test?

According to the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, drivers who refuse breath tests will face criminal penalties. For a first offense, drivers must pay a fine of between $300 and $500. Additionally, the court will order them to spend at least six-hour days in an intoxicated driver resource center for two consecutive days.

Drivers who refuse breath testing will also have their licenses suspended until they outfit their vehicles with ignition interlock devices. First-time offenders must maintain ignition interlock devices on the autos they own and operate for between nine and 15 months.

Does refusing a breath test have other costs?

Beyond the fines and the expense of having ignition interlock devices installed on their vehicles, drivers may face other costs due to refusing breath tests. Those who violate the state’s implied consent law must pay a $100 surcharge to the Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund, as well as a $1,000-per-year insurance surcharge for three years.

A conviction for drunk driving carries consequences enough. However, drivers may face additional penalties for refusing breath testing at the time of their arrests.