This is What Happens When You Refuse a Breathalyzer Test
You were out to dinner with a couple of friends and downed a couple of glasses of wine. The owner of the restaurant was pleased with your patronage and sent you over an after dinner cordial. You certainly don’t feel tipsy when you leave to head home. Yet, your worst nightmare unfolds. Before you know it, you’re pulled over to the side, and a police officer is insisting that you blow into a breathalyzer.
Now what? You figure the alcohol is fresh on your breath. Even though you’re confident that you’re not driving under the influence, you’re very concerned about the request. After all, you remember the story of some guy who blew into a breathalyzer and was found over the legal limits. You certainly can’t afford the same thing to happen to you.
So, you decide to tell the officer that you are refusing the breathalyzer. Your logic is that you don’t want to chance being charged with a DWI.
You may be shocked to learn that your failure to submit to a breathalyzer test will result in exactly the consequences you hoped to avoid. Big money. Fines. Surcharges. And, yes, loss of your license.
Breathalyzer Refusal under NJ Law
First and foremost, you should recognize that driving in New Jersey is not a right; it is a privilege. When drivers first receive their license, there is an implied consent that they will agree to take a breathalyzer test if they are suspected of driving while under the influence.
For further information, you may want to review NJSA 39:4-50.2. The language regarding the implied consent reads as follows:
Any person who operates a motor vehicle on any public road, street or highway or quasi-public area in this State shall be deemed to have given his consent to the taking of samples of his breath for the purpose of making chemical tests to determine the content of alcohol in his blood; provided, however, that the taking of samples is made in accordance with the provisions of this act and at the request of a police officer who has reasonable grounds to believe that such person has been operating a motor vehicle….(while under the influence)
So, now that we’ve established the actual law that says you shouldn’t refuse a breathalyzer test, you need to know what happens if you decide to decline.
The information is found right on the State of New Jersey’s Motor Vehicle Commission’s website. Refusing to take a breathalyzer test will subject you to the same loss of driving privileges as though you had been convicted of a DUI offense.
Bottom line? First, there’s always the idea of finding a designated driver and not taking any chances. Otherwise, you should comply with the officer’s directive and blow into the machine. It could well be that you were driving within legal limits, and your failure to take the test caused you undue troubles.