Not many experiences are as frightening as being pulled over for a drunk driving investigation. And there is a pretty good reason for this: A conviction for drunk driving in New Jersey comes with serious legal and personal consequences.
If you are stopped for a DWI investigation, one of the pieces of evidence the police will obtain is your blood alcohol (BAC) level. For this, the police will request you to take the Breathalyzer test. But do you need to yield to this test?
New Jersey is an implied consent state
A simple answer to the question, “should you yield to the Breathalyzer test?” is, YES. When you sign up to drive on a public road in New Jersey, you are giving your implicit consent to submit to a breath test if the police pull you over on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.
However, the police must have reasonable grounds to believe that you were driving while intoxicated to justify the stop and collection of your breath sample. Examples of probable cause might include running through the red lights, hugging the center line, swerving in and out of your lane or any other traffic violation.
Consequences of refusing to take the Breathalyzer test
Refusing to yield to a Breathalyzer test can increase your odds of getting a DWI conviction since the court will draw a legal inference that you declined the test because you were intoxicated in the first place. Of course, this is a rebuttable argument. However, it puts you in a position where you have to prove that the probable cause for which the police stopped you is not sufficient to warrant a conviction. And this can be a tall order.
Refusing to yield to a Breathalyzer test also comes with its share of legal consequences. Here are some of these:
- An immediate withdrawal of your driver’s license
- Fines depending on the nature of the refusal (first-time or subsequent refusals)
If you have been charged with drunk driving or refusing to yield to the Breathalyzer test, it is important that you explore your legal options so you can protect your rights and interests.