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What happens when you refuse a breath test in New Jersey?

On Behalf of | Jan 22, 2024 | DWI Defense |

Getting pulled over on suspicion of driving while intoxicated can be a stressful experience. You may feel pressured by the police officer to consent to a breath test to measure your blood alcohol content.

While you have a legal right to refuse the test, there can be serious consequences for doing so.

The refusal statute in New Jersey

New Jersey has an “implied consent” law, which means that by driving on the state’s roads you consent to take a breath test if suspected of DWI. Refusing to take the breath test results in a mandatory driver’s license suspension along with other penalties.

The penalties for breath test refusal

A first offense for refusing a breath test in NJ results in a mandatory driver’s license suspension which ends when the driver has an ignition interlock device installed. A second offense leads to a 2-year license suspension. The third or subsequent offense results in an 8-year license suspension.

In addition to the license suspension, those who refuse a breath test face fines ranging from $500 to $1000 and a surcharge of $1,000 to $1,500 per year for 3 years on their car insurance. New Jersey also requires drivers who refuse the breath test to submit to a mandated ignition interlock period ranging from 9 months to a couple of years.

Refusing to take a breath test upon request in New Jersey can ultimately be more costly than taking the test itself. The penalties are severe, including heavy fines, surcharges and an extensive driver’s license suspension. Understanding these consequences is important when deciding how to proceed when you face a DWI traffic stop.