Breathalyzer Refusal Lawyers in Parsippany, NJ
Breath Test Refusal Attorneys Serving Morris County & Beyond
Refusing a breath test in New Jersey is a violation of the law. The penalties for conviction on refusal are similar to those for conviction for DUI/DWI. Known as the Refusal Statute, the law means that anyone who obtains a driver’s license in the state has already consented in advance to being tested when stopped on suspicion of drunk driving. Also referred to as “implied consent,” this approach to testing blood alcohol content is used almost everywhere in the United States, including New Jersey.
In New Jersey, Breathalyzer Equals Alcotest
NJ uses a machine called the Alcotest. Refusing to submit to an Alcotest test means that even if you are never convicted of DUI/DWI, you can still be convicted of refusing the breath test. Although most attorneys advise clients to agree to the test because of the consequences of refusing, they can also mount a defense against the charge in the right circumstances.
Morristown Attorneys Defend Clients Against Breathalyzer Refusal Charges
At the Morristown, New Jersey law firm of Hanlon Dunn Robertson Schwartz, the lawyers defend clients against charges of refusing to submit to an Alcotest. The firm’s DWI defense attorneys are dedicated and persistent defenders of clients’ rights and will review all the evidence to develop a strategy that gives the client the best chance at a good outcome.
Penalties for Refusing the Alcotest in New Jersey
If you refuse to take a breath test to record your blood alcohol content, you will face all the penalties you would receive if you were convicted of a DUI/DWI—fines, driver’s license suspension, and required completion of an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center program. The only difference is that the Refusal Statute does not specify jail time as a penalty for breath test refusal.
Defenses Against Breath Test Refusal Charges in NJ
Although these cases can be challenging, there are defenses against charges of refusing to take a breath test. Depending on the circumstance, your attorney could argue that:
- You were not actually operating the vehicle and thus the officer had no legal grounds to ask you to take a breath test. For example, you could have been in a parking lot, your driveway, or off the shoulder of the road.
- The officer had no probable cause to arrest you. For example, there may be other explanations for failing a field sobriety test—illness, medication, balance problems. You might have stopped for a minor traffic violation like a broken tail light. Unless the officer smelled alcohol, they should not be able to ask you to take a breath test for a broken tail light.
- The officer did not read the implied consent warning. Moreover, some have used the “confusion defense,” which asserts that even if the officer read the warning, the driver was unable to understand it due to language or hearing issues.
Not all cases involving breath test refusal will lend themselves to defenses such as these. However, the firm’s lawyers will leave no stone unturned in their efforts to build a strong defense on behalf of a client facing breath test refusal charges.
Contact a Morristown, New Jersey Breath Test Refusal Attorney
If you are facing charges of refusing a breath test in Morris County, NJ, an experienced attorney can help. Contact Hanlon Dunn Robertson Schwartz via our online contact form to schedule a free consultation to learn what we can do for you.