The Cassidy Law Firm Blog

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Monmouth County DUI: What Happens If I Did Not Take the Breath Test?

Even if you have never been stopped for a DUI before most people know that it is standard procedure for a suspected drunk driver to be asked to take a breathalyzer test. What happens if you are stopped on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and your refuse the breath test? You do have the right to refuse the test; however, there are consequences if you do not take the breath test.

In years past, proving that a motorist was “intoxicated” or “impaired” was no easy task for a prosecutor in a drunk driving prosecution. In the past couple of decades, however, DUI laws across the country have changed to address this difficulty. Most laws, including those in New Jersey, now make it illegal to drive a vehicle with a blood alcohol level, or BAC, over 0.08. In Monmouth County, to test your BAC level law enforcement officers will typically ask that you submit to a breathalyzer test once they have taken you into custody for suspected DUI. Test results from a field breathalyzer are not admissible in a subsequent prosecution for DUI; however, results of an official breathalyzer conducted at the station or jail are admissible at trial. For this reason, people often refuse to take a breath test when they are arrested for DUI. While you have an absolute right to refuse a breath test there are consequences to your refusal. Moreover, you could be convicted of drunk driving anyway.

If you refuse a breathalyzer in Monmouth County and all throughout New Jersey your license will automatically be suspended. The length of the suspension depends on whether this is your first Monmouth County DUI arrest and/or first refusal or you have previous convictions/refusals. For a first refusal your license will be suspended for at least seven months up to a year. A second refusal will result in a license suspension of at least two years. If you are stopped in a school zone your license suspension will be considerably greater. In addition to a license suspension you face fees and fines as well as attendance at a mandatory Intoxicated Driver Resource Program, or IDRP.

Despite all of these negative consequences to refusing a breath test there is one significant benefit – it makes it harder for the State of New Jersey to prove you were driving while intoxicated. While it may make it harder, it does not make it impossible – something that is important to remember. If you are already facing a refusal charge, talk to an experienced Monmouth County criminal defense attorney to find out what legal options you may have at this point.

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