Articles Posted in Breath Test Refusal

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

Under New Jersey’s implied consent law, drivers are deemed to consent to submit to breath tests if they are stopped for suspicion of DWI. As such, if a driver declines to submit to a breath test, the driver can be charged with refusal to submit to a chemical test, which may result in suspension or revocation of the driver’s license. In a recent New Jersey case, a court discussed the State’s burden of proof in a case in which a defendant is charged with refusal to submit to chemical testing.  If you are a resident of New Jersey currently accused of a DWI crime, it is prudent to confer with a New Jersey DWI defense attorney to assess what defenses you may be able to assert to protect your rights.

Factual and Procedural Background of the Case

Allegedly, the defendant lost control of his vehicle and left the roadway, driving into a pole. A police officer responded to the incident, and upon speaking with the defendant observed that the defendant smelled of alcohol, had bloodshot eyes, and diminished balance and speech. As such, the police officer requested that the defendant submit to a breath test. The defendant refused. He was subsequently charged with DWI, failure to maintain a lane, and refusal to submit to a chemical test.

It is reported that the defendant was convicted on all counts, after which he appealed. The defendant’s appeal was granted, and a new trial was ordered, after which he was found not guilty of DWI but guilty of refusal to submit to a chemical test and failure to maintain a lane. Following a second appeal, a new trial was held on the refusal to submit to a chemical test charge. The defendant was convicted and again appealed. Continue reading

Under New Jersey’s implied consent law, anyone who drives a car is deemed to consent to a chemical breath test. Thus, if a person stopped for suspicion of DWI refuses to submit to a test, he or she can face additional consequences. Police officers are required to inform DUI suspects of the potential consequences of refusing to submit to a blood test, by reading them a standard statement. Recently, the statement was called into question by a DWI defendant, who argued that the statement failed to advise her sufficiently of the consequences of her refusal. Upon review, a New Jersey appellate court ultimately rejected the defendant’s argument. If you are currently charged with a New Jersey DWI following your refusal to submit to a breath test, it is sensible to consult a proficient New Jersey DWI defense attorney to discuss these charges.

The Defendant’s Arrest

It is reported that the defendant was stopped by the police for multiple traffic violations and for suspected DWI. During the investigation, the police officer who stopped the defendant read her the standard statement regarding the consequences of refusing to submit to a chemical breath test, but the defendant refused nonetheless. She was charged with numerous offenses, including DWI and refusal to submit to a breath test, to which she entered guilty pleas, contingent upon her right to challenge the sufficiency of the standard statement on appeal. During her plea hearing, she stated that she had consumed alcohol before driving on the date of her arrest, but that she would have provided breath samples if she was informed of the minimum penalties for a first-time offense. The defendant was sentenced, after which she appealed.

Sufficiency of the Standard Statement Regarding Consequences of Refusing a Breath Test

Under New Jersey’s implied consent law, anyone who drives a motor vehicle on a public road is presumed to consent to provide samples of their breath for chemical testing if the person is suspected of DWI. Further, the law provides that the police must inform a person arrested on suspicion of DWI of the consequences of refusing to submit to a chemical breath test by reading a standard statement prepared by the chief administrator. The law also requires a person who refuses to submit to a breath test to be charged with a violation for refusing. Continue reading

New Jersey law enforcement takes drunk driving very seriously. If you or someone close to you has been charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI), you need to reach out to an experienced New Jersey DWI attorney for skilled advocacy. With extensive experience in this area of law, we will explore every avenue to fight the charges against you.

In New Jersey, a person can be charged with a DWI when he or she operates a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. If you are under 21 years old, the legal limit is 0.01 percent. For a commercial driver, the legal limit is 0.04 percent.

Last year, we wrote about a Municipal judge in New Jersey who allegedly went on an expletive-filled rant when he was approached by cops under suspicion of a DWI. W.B. was pulled over on the shoulder of I-80 in Teaneck on Westbound at 2:13 a.m. on November 12, 2016. When an officer approached the vehicle, W.B. was asleep behind the wheel. The officer noted that a “strong order” of alcohol was emanating from Benitez’s breath and his eyes were bloodshot. The cop then put W.B. through a variety of field sobriety tests, which he failed.

It’s safe to say that here in New Jersey few individuals would have anything pleasant to look forward to given a drunken driving or drug DUI conviction as the end result. Not only does a guilty verdict mean thousands of dollars in court fines, statutory fees and auto insurance premium increases, but the addition an ignition interlock device on one’s vehicle and the possibility of some jail time can be onerous as well.

For those who are considering the services of a drunk driving defense attorney, the time to act is very soon after one is charged with a DWI-DUI offense. It is quite important to find a qualified trial lawyer who has years of experience in defending motorists against charges such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) in a motor vehicle, breath test refusal, and marijuana DUI, among others. But we recommend that a person act swiftly, while choosing carefully, before too much time elapses.

As Garden State DWI defense lawyers, my legal team and I are keenly aware of the anxiety that a drunk driving summons can cause for many otherwise law-abiding people. The best suggestion is to find legal counsel as quickly as is practical so that you allow your defense attorney enough time to prepare a strong case. As long-time DUI-DWI attorneys, my law firm has assisted many individuals accused of impaired driving, such as by alcohol or narcotics. If a driver has been served with a summons and has a pending court hearing, the time to act is now.
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As New Jersey criminal and civil defense attorneys, my law firm understands how quickly a motorist can be put on the spot by a state trooper or municipal patrolman. The range of traffic violations is relatively extensive, but some of the more serious offenses have to do with impaired driving. Whether based on an accusation of drinking and driving, or being impaired by prescription medication or an illicit drug (also known as a controlled dangerous substance, or CDS), my law firm has represented hundreds upon hundreds of people over the years.

There is no doubt that drunk driving arrests are very much a part of police activities all across the Garden State, but that doesn’t mean that these incidents are run-of-the-mill events for those drivers who end up being caught up in them. Saying that DWIs and drug DUIs are fairly commonplace should not diminish the seriousness of the charges that accompany such arrests; and many people often fail to grasp the future consequences of their actions in this regard.

At this point, it must be said that although my legal team is dedicated to defending those individuals accused of impaired driving, we hardly condone intoxicated driving or drug-impaired vehicle operation. As motorists ourselves, the safety aspects of such activities are not lost on the members of my legal staff. Regardless, the law provides that people who have been charged with a civil offense or criminal act have the right to defend themselves in a court of law. We know that not every DWI-DUI arrest is valid, which is why we believe that our clients should have the best possible legal defense when their day in court arrives.
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Now that summer is officially over, there are still many Garden State motorists awaiting their day in court to answer to charges of impaired driving lodged against them by local and state police during the long Labor Day holiday. Whether arrested for intoxication by alcohol or impairment via some kind of drug (either legally obtained prescription medications or illicit substances, like marijuana or cocaine), the odds of paying dearly for an error in judgment or momentary indiscretion can be quite high.

As New Jersey DWI defense lawyers, my law firm is dedicated to assisting those individuals who have been accused of a serious drunken driving offense. Though many people would disagree, until it actually happens to them, even an instance of breath test refusal can lead to costly penalties. If you or someone you know was arrested for drunk driving arrest, drug DUI, or CDS (controlled dangerous substance) possession, my colleagues and I understand how frightening the future may seem without a good plan in place.

Whether you were arrested in Middlesex, Hudson, Ocean or Bergen County, it is certain that the memories a carefree holiday weekend were overshadowed by the stark reality of a DUI-DWI charge. Sadly this is a scenario that plays out all too often; sometimes on the way home from a family gathering or a cordial neighborhood block party, many times traveling home from a night out at the bar. Whatever preceded, the end result can be thousands of dollars in fines and insurance premium assessments, loss of driving privileges and even jail time.
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For anyone arrested on a drunk driving offense, the immediate issue is usually finding a good lawyer to help defend against the state’s prosecution of those charges. In short, your time has come and action should be taken to seek legal counsel regarding one’s DUI-DWI case. For the balance of the people out there who may be wondering about the pros and cons of a DWI arrest and possible conviction, it may be a good idea to consider the worst-case scenario and then go backward from there.

As New Jersey DWI attorneys, my law firm does defend many individuals who have been accused of impaired driving — either through the use of alcohol or the taking of legal narcotic medications (perhaps even the taking of illicit drugs) — but we in no way condone intoxicated vehicle operation or driving a car, truck or motorcycle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The best way to avoid a DWI or drug DUI is to avoid consuming any amount of alcohol before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Here in the Garden State few motorists have anything good to look forward to if a DWI-DUI conviction is the ultimate result. In addition to the often thousands of dollars in fines, fees and insurance premium increases, accused drunk drivers should also expect the installation of an ignition interlock device on their car once their driving privileges have been restored.
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Making the decision to fight DWI or drug DUI charges in the Garden State can be fraught with much anxiety and many questions. As experienced trial lawyers, my colleagues and I have defended hundreds of people over the years against all manner of civil and criminal charges. Every month we meet with dozens of New Jersey motorists who have been accused of intoxicated or drug-impaired driving, with the intent to have those charges reduced or dropped altogether. We know that the trepidation many people feel walking into a courtroom is completely normal, but it should not prevent you from fighting for your rights.

As Bergen County DWI-DUI attorneys, we believe that taking a proactive approach to protecting your legal rights can pay off in the end. My legal team here at the Law Offices of John F. Marshall, is highly regarded throughout the state of New Jersey, not only because of our seasoned and expert defense attorneys, but also because of the results that we obtain year in and year out. When we prepare a client’s defense case, we endeavor to exhaust every avenue while thoroughly investigating the details of the arrest, as well as presenting a comprehensive legal strategy as a challenge to the prosecution’s evidence.

It goes without saying that law enforcement agencies throughout New Jersey have a dim view of motorists suspected of DWI or drug DUI. Similarly, our state’s drunk driving laws provide for some very harsh penalties for those drivers who are found guilty of violating the DWI-DUI legal statutes. Quite simply, a motorist is considered to have been driving under the influence in New Jersey if his or her blood-alcohol concentration (or BAC) is 0.08 percent or more. Penalties associated with DWI-DUI are also based on the BAC measurement determined at the time of the arrest.
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Being arrested for intoxicated driving, especially if one is a law-abiding citizen, is nothing if not a traumatic and worrisome event. Motorists who are pulled over for traffic infractions generally are nervous to begin with, but if the driver knows that he consumed even a little alcohol previous to the police stop, that person’s anxiety level may be quite obvious to the patrolman in charge. As New Jersey trial lawyers and experts in the field of drunk driving defense, my legal staff is sympathetic to our clients’ situations, especially in cases where they believe they have done nothing wrong.

While it is often difficult to plan for an unforeseeable event, such as a DWI or drug DUI arrest, it is nevertheless a good idea to review some steps to take when such an occurrence does take place. Since most drunken driving arrests begin with a police stop for what is often a simple traffic infraction, it is wise to understand one’s rights under such circumstances.

When looking at what to do prior to and during a routine traffic stop, it is important to remain calm and react in a safe and predictable manner. This can begin the very first moment when a motorist notices that police cruiser following his or her car. Most drivers will likely see a patrol car in their rearview mirror just a short time before the officer switches on his emergency lights. In such instances, it is critical to act in a rational and intelligent fashion in order to demonstrate to the officer your ability to make intelligent and safe driving decisions from the onset.
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