Under New Jersey law, licensed drivers who are suspected of DWI are required to submit to breath tests, and if they refuse, they can be charged with a crime in addition to facing DWI charges. The State must prove each element of a defendant’s refusal to submit to a breath test to obtain a conviction, and if they do not, a finding of guilt may be unjust. Recently, a New Jersey court issued an opinion discussing the elements of refusal and the State’s burden of proof in a case in which the defendant unsuccessfully appealed her conviction. If you are faced with a charge of refusal to submit to a breath test, it is prudent to meet with a capable New Jersey DWI defense attorney to determine your options.
History of the Case
It is reported that the police responded to a disturbance at a New Jersey courtroom where the defendant was attending a custody hearing. When they arrived, they observed the defendant yelling obscenities and screaming at other officers. They then saw the defendant in the courtroom and noticed she appeared to be intoxicated. The police worried she would drive while intoxicated and followed her to the parking lot, where she entered her vehicle and turned on the engine.
Allegedly, she was arrested and transported to the police station, where she stated she would not offer a breath sample. She was advised if she did not, she could be charged with refusal to submit, but did not provide a sample. She was charged with DWI and refusal to submit. She was found guilty and then appealed, arguing in part that there was insufficient evidence to sustain her conviction. Continue reading