Refusing an Alcotest in New Jersey comes with a hefty fine and will not get you out of a charge; it will actually do the opposite. Whether you’re intoxicated or not, refusing the Alcotest can cost you if you don’t hire an excellent DUI attorney. As part of a refusal charge, the prosecutor needs to prove that:
- The officer acted within the course of his duties.
- There was probable cause to suspect that you were under the influence of alcohol/drugs.
- You were pulled over for suspected DUI, and the police requested you take a breath test.
- The officer read all of the required statements before asking you to take a breathalyzer test.
- You declined.
The state’s case against you can be invalidated on several different grounds in these cases.
What are the Penalties for Declining an Alcotest in a Non-School Zone?
There will be a punishment for those found guilty of refusing to submit to a breath test in New Jersey. Law N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.4a directs the severity of the sentence. If you refuse to install an interlock ignition device in your vehicle, your driver’s license will be suspended pending proof that you installed the device. After installation, the device must remain in your car for nine to fifteen months.
You will be unable to operate a motor vehicle in this state for a minimum of 1 year up to 2 years if you reject a breathalyzer test a second time. After that time, you will have to utilize an interlock device for 2 to 4 years.
After your third and subsequent refusal offenses, you will lose all driving privileges for ten years. In addition, you will have to install an ignition interlock device for up to 4 years after you regain your license.
The Intoxicated Driver Resource Course (IDRC) is one of the additional penalties. Additionally, for the first offense, there will be fines of $300-$500. For the second offense, there are fines of $500-$1,000, and $1,000 for the third and subsequent offenses. There will likely be court costs, insurance surcharges, and points against your license.
Law And Order – Photo Credit by: succo (pixabay)
Can You Beat a Refusal Charge?
As part of the license application process, testing for drugs or alcohol has to be agreed upon by the person should the police ask. In other words, you have implied consent. Refusing a breathalyzer leaves little room for defense. There are generally only three valid options:
- Establish that the driver was unclear about their rights. A police officer must read a statement with 11 paragraphs that explains why a driver must give a breath sample and what will happen if the driver refuses. There is a possibility that the driver could be acquitted if the officer fails to read the statement, which rarely occurs.
- A limited proficiency of English may allow the driver to argue that he did not understand what the officer was saying. A lawyer could say that a driver who was dazed or in shock after an auto accident could not comprehend what the officer was saying.
- Drivers involving an accident that resulted in injuries to the face, jaw, chest, or lungs may not have to take a breathalyzer test. Those suffering from severe lung conditions, such as asthma or emphysema, may not be required to take a breathalyzer test. Nevertheless, the driver must provide proof of the medical condition.
Expungement of a Conviction from Refusal of an Alcotest: A New Jersey DUI Attorney Can Help
Rather than a criminal offense, it is a traffic violation to refuse to submit to a breath test in New Jersey. That means a conviction will not result in a criminal record.
The conviction will appear on one’s driving record, however. N.J. does not drop or conceal traffic convictions after some time—they are all viewable for the driver’s life. That means there is no way to expunge (clear) the conviction.
A Knowledgeable New Jersey DUI Attorney
New Jersey does not play around when it comes to DUIs or a refusal of a breathalyzer test. You need the best on your side. Leon Matchin has the experience and knowledge needed to fight for you. Call or email right away for a free consultation today. The sooner you pick up the phone, the sooner we can build your defense.
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Email [email protected] or call (732) 887-2479.