What Happens if I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test?

When a law enforcement officer pulls over a driver over suspicion of driving while under the influence (DUI), they will likely request the driver to submit to a chemical test to determine their blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The question of whether you should refuse the breathalyzer test may arise. Many people refuse the test in the hope that it will better their chances of avoiding a DUI conviction. However, it’s essential to understand that a refusal can lead to several immediate consequences. Please continue reading to learn about New Jersey’s Implied Consent laws and how our skilled Bergen County DUI Attorneys can effectively defend your rights. 

What Are Implied Consent Laws?

Under New Jersey law, motorists are prohibited from operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The legal BAC threshold is 0.08%. For commercial drivers, the limit is 0.04%, and drivers under the age of 21 are held to a zero-tolerance policy.

It’s important to understand that any individual who accepts the privilege to drive in the state of New Jersey implicitly consents to submit to a breath test if suspected of driving while impaired. This is referred to as Implied Consent. If a driver refuses to submit to a breathalyzer test following a traffic stop made upon probable cause by law enforcement on suspicion of DUI, this can result in additional charges and penalties if you are convicted.

What Are the Potential Penalties for Refusing a Breathalyzer Test?

If you refuse to submit to a chemical breath test or breathalyzer in New Jersey, you will face an array of harsh penalties. The severity of your penalties will depend on the number of prior offenses you have. For a first offense, you can face fines between $300 and $500, a $100 Drunk Driving Enforcement Fund (DDEF) fee, a driver’s license suspension until an ignition interlock device (IID) is installed, 12 to 48 hours at the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center, and mandatory use of an IID between 9 and 15 months.

If you are a repeat offender, a second offense can result in license revocation for up to 2 years. With a third refusal, you risk losing your license for up to 8 years. It’s important to note that for both second and third offenses, you may have to use an IID in your vehicle for up to 4 years after restoring your driver’s license.

Given the potential consequences, it’s in your best interest to enlist the help of an experienced Bergen County DUI attorney who can help establish a robust defense strategy. At The Law Office of Carl Spector, we are prepared to help you navigate this legal process and fight to protect your future.