New Jersey Court Analyzes Sufficiency of Warning Regarding the Consequences of Refusal to Submit to a Breath Test

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.

In the subject case, the court noted that the standard statement advised that the defendant could be convicted of both DWI and refusal if she did not submit to the test and that she could lose her license for up to twenty years, and be fined up to $2,000. The court found that the statement was sufficient to advise the defendant of the potential consequences for refusal and that it was burdensome to require the statement to advise her of every possible consequence. Further, the court noted it was illogical for the plaintiff to argue that although she knowingly risked the potentially extreme consequences of refusing to submit to the test, she would have provided breath samples if she was told of the lesser penalties of a first-time offense.

Speak with a Trusted New Jersey DWI Defense Attorney

If you are faced with New Jersey DWI charges, it is advisable to speak with a trusted New Jersey DWI defense attorney regarding your options for seeking a successful outcome under the circumstances surrounding your arrest. The diligent attorneys of the Law Offices of Johnathan F. Marshall have the knowledge and experience needed to help you protect your rights. We can be contacted at 877-450-8301 or via our online form to set up a conference.