Are There Penalties for Refusing to Submit a Breath Test?

The New Jersey legislature and law enforcement take drunk driving incredibly seriously and the penalties for a conviction can be severe. By refusing to take a Breathalyzer, however, you face other serious consequences.

At the Law Office of Sara McArdle, our attorneys routinely defend clients from drunk driving and other traffic related offenses, including Breathalyzer refusal. For more than 15 years, the McArdles have defended the rights of their clients throughout the municipal courts and Superior Courts of Central and Northern New Jersey.

Implied Consent

New Jersey law requires you to take a breath test if you are arrested for a DWI. New Jersey’s “implied consent” law, NJ Statute 39:4-50.2, states that if you are lawfully arrested by an officer who has probable cause to believe that you have been driving while intoxicated, then you consent to taking a chemical test of your breath for the purpose of determining your blood alcohol content (BAC). The test must be taken at the time of your arrest. If you refuse to take a test, however, then the officer cannot force you to take one. Officers may have you perform field tests as evidence of possible intoxication.

Penalties For Failing To Submit To A Breath Test

You will not avoid penalties if you choose to refuse to submit to a breath test. Instead, New Jersey law has separate penalties for Breathalyzer refusal. If you are a first-time offender, you could face:

  • License suspension of seven months to a year
  • Fines and court costs
  • Ignition interlock device on your vehicle for six months to a year
  • Mandatory alcohol education at a New Jersey Intoxicated Driving Resource Center
  • Increased insurance premiums

If you refuse the take a breath test on a second offense, you could face a two-year license suspension. On the third offense, your license suspension can increase to ten years. Do not take these charges lightly, especially if you have failed to submit to a breath test previously.

We Fight for You

When you choose the Law Office of Sara McArdle, our attorneys explore every avenue to fight the charges against you. We will investigate your arrest or traffic stop to ensure that the refusal was properly obtained. When you refuse a breath test, the police officer must read you your rights and you must understand the possible consequences of your refusal.

Additionally, the officer may not be properly qualified to perform the breath test, the Alcotest or breath machine may not have been properly maintained, or there was improper radio or electromagnetic interference with the machine. Under such circumstances, we may be able to contest the breath test. Our attorneys are with you every step of the way.

Contact Us

Our office routinely represents clients charged with failure to submit to a breath test. We can also help you with other driving related-charges, including reckless driving or a DUI/DWI defense.

We accept credit cards, offer flexible consultation hours and are conveniently located in Parsippany, NJ near highways such as 287 and 80, as well as Route 46. Call 973-366-5244 or email to schedule a free initial consultation.