Implied consent to alcohol breath testing

On Behalf of | Apr 29, 2022 | Motor vehicle accidents |

New Jersey has an implied consent law when it comes to being tested for impaired driving. When police suspect a driver of being intoxicated, the driver has already consented to the process when they originally applied for their license. They will then forfeit their license for a specific period from the date of the stop if they refuse impairment testing. This is an automatic penalty application. However, some drivers do still choose to not comply with a testing request from an officer because it can also limit the amount of verifiable material evidence the state can use in prosecution. When this happens, the subsequent result differs in New Jersey compared to other states.

Driving privilege suspension

Most states immediately suspend a driver’s driving privileges when they refuse a Breathalyzer analysis following a DUI traffic stop. Typically, in other states, privileges are suspended for a specified amount of time. However, in New Jersey, this can be an indefinite period as the suspension remains in effect until the defendant installs an ignition interlock device in their vehicle.

Potential penalties for refusal

Suspected impaired drivers who refuse BAC or chemical testing following a traffic stop are required to install an IID in their personal vehicle for a period of 9 to 15 months after the date of the stop. It is not necessary to go to court for this requirement to apply. Additionally, there is a fine of between $300 and $500 unless the stop happens in a school zone. The fine can then be increased to between $600 and $1000. These are penalties for a first offense impaired driving testing refusal only, and those who refuse multiple times can expect a harsher penalty as a result.

While refusal can be an effective method of avoiding a DUI conviction in some cases, doing so is not necessarily a good decision. The penalties for refusal alone are substantial.