New Jersey DWI Refusal is a complex charge to defend, but it is very possible under certain circumstances to win a Refusal charge.
First, there has to have been a lawful stop of your vehicle, and a lawful arrest. If the officer did not properly stop your car or improperly arrested you, anything that follows after the illegal stop or illegal arrest must be suppressed or excluded from evidence. There must be a reasonable suspicion by the officer that the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Once arrested, the officer must advise the driver of the current Implied Consent rules and law. This is done by reading a somewhat lengthy eleven paragraph form that stresses the requirement that the driver submit to giving samples of his or her breath when requested by the officer.
Implied Consent means that when the driver was issued a license and granted the privilege of driving a vehicle, the driver automatically gave consent to the testing of his or her breath when requested by an officer who has reasonable suspicion to believe that the driver is under the influence of alcohol.
New Jersey's implied consent law mandates that any driver arrested on suspicion of DUI / DWI must submit to a chemical test to determine blood alcohol content (BAC). Refusing to submit to a chemical test following a valid arrest can bring serious repercussions. Anything other than agreeing to submit to the testing has been determined by the courts to equal a Refusal.
This applies only to breath testing cases in New Jersey, and not blood or urine testing. There is no law in New Jersey that requires submission to blood or urine testing. There is also no law that requires submission to the field sobriety exercises that the driver may have performed road-side or even in the police station.
Because the consequences of a refusal are so severe, anyone facing this allegation following a driving under the influence arrest should consult with a New Jersey attorney who is experienced in DUI / DWI defense. A skilled New Jersey DWI defense lawyer will review each case individually to determine whether a Refusal charge can be dismissed.
On a first offense Refusal conviction, the driver will lose his/her driver's license until he/she gets an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) installed in the car he/she plans to drive, brings proof of installation to the Motor Vehicle Commission, pays a restoration fee of $200, and gets a new picture ID with the word "INTERLOCK" printed on it. The IID must remain installed for 9 to 15 months from the date of installation. A second NJ DWI Refusal conviction results in a 1 to 2 year license suspension, and IID for 2 to 4 years after the driver's license is restored. A third or greater NJ DWI Refusal results in an 8 year license suspension and IID for 2 to 4 years after the driver's license is restored.
There are also significant fines and assessments for refusing to take a breath test in New Jersey. Fines range from $300 to $1,000 depending on whether it is a first, second, or greater conviction. Surcharges are levied by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) that range from $3,000 to $4,500, plus insurance companies charge additional and separate surcharges over a 3 year period.
In addition, a chemical test refusal can be used by a prosecutor as evidence of consciousness of guilt. In other words, the prosecutor can argue that the driver refused the test because he or she knew that it would be failed.
Many drivers fear that a chemical test that shows a BAC of .08 percent or greater or the presence of drugs means a slam-dunk conviction, but that's simply not true. The good news is that chemical test results can be successfully challenged. There are many effective challenges available to blood, breath, or urine tests that can create reasonable doubt as to the driver's guilt.
A New Jersey DWI lawyer who is well-versed in Refusal cases will thoroughly examine the circumstances surrounding the driver's chemical test refusal and develop an aggressive defense strategy designed to minimize negative consequences.
At Levow DWI Law, P.C., we have had great success in getting Refusal charges as well as New Jersey DWI / DUI charges dismissed for our clients. Please call us today. We want to help. 877-593-1717.