The Kugel Law Firm's Blog

Am I entitled to a lawyer before I decide to take a breathalyzer test if I am arrested for a DUI/DWI in New Jersey?

Posted on July 11, 2023


There’s a lot of confusion around this question, and I get this question all the time. People want to know, do they have the right to speak to an attorney, or to work with an attorney in deciding whether or not they should take a breath test after they’re arrested for DWI/DUI in New Jersey? Can they call anybody? Do they get a phone or a phone book, anything like that? 

Well, the answer in New Jersey is simply no. The obligation to take a chemical test is actually covered by something called the implied consent law. Just by driving a car in the state of New Jersey, you’re agreeing that if you’re ever properly arrested for DWI/DUI in New Jersey, you will submit to a chemical test of your breath. The implied consent form says you have no legal right to have an attorney, physician, or anyone else present for the purpose of taking the breath samples. And you have no legal right to refuse to give or delay giving samples of your breath. You don’t have a right to an attorney before deciding whether to give samples of your breath in New Jersey and just keep in mind that if you choose not to do so, there are penalties for it.

If you or a loved one is facing charges of DWI/DUI or refusing to take a breathalyzer test, it is important to consult with an experienced New Jersey DUI attorney right away. At The Kugel Law Firm, our team of skilled New Jersey lawyers may be able to help protect your rights and your freedom. Call us today at (973) 854-0098 to schedule a consultation.

New Jersey DWI attorney

Implied Consent in New Jersey

New Jersey, like many other states in the United States, enforces laws that establish a mandatory requirement for individuals operating motor vehicles on public roads to provide their consent for chemical breath or blood tests to determine their alcohol content if they are pulled over or arrested for driving under the influence. Under the legal framework of New Jersey, drivers are considered to have given their “implied consent” to such tests.

The concept of implied consent entails that individuals who apply for a driver’s license in New Jersey are bound by the condition of providing their consent to undergo chemical tests if suspected of driving while intoxicated. By obtaining a driver’s license, motorists implicitly agree to cooperate with law enforcement officers in determining their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) as a means to ensure public safety and prevent the dangers associated with drunk driving.

This legal provision reflects the state’s commitment to combating impaired driving and safeguarding the welfare of its residents. By making the act of driving a privilege contingent upon implied consent to alcohol testing, New Jersey establishes a robust system for deterring drunk driving incidents. The presence of such laws acts as a strong deterrent, as individuals who are aware of the consequences of non-compliance are more likely to exercise responsible decision-making when it comes to consuming alcohol before getting behind the wheel.

The implementation of implied consent laws not only serves as a preventive measure but also provides law enforcement officers with a crucial tool to accurately assess the level of impairment of suspected drunk drivers. By obtaining reliable and scientific evidence of a driver’s BAC, authorities can strengthen their case in court, ensuring a fair legal process while holding individuals accountable for their actions.

Moreover, implied consent laws contribute to a comprehensive approach to road safety by complementing other initiatives, such as public awareness campaigns, stricter penalties for drunk driving offenses, and the promotion of alternative transportation options. This multifaceted strategy aims to reduce the occurrence of alcohol-related accidents, injuries, and fatalities, fostering a safer and more responsible driving culture within the state.

Consequences of Refusing Breathalyzer Tests

Implied consent in New Jersey means that if anyone is stopped because of suspicion of driving under the influence, law enforcement officers can subject them to a breathalyzer. Drivers who refuse to take a chemical or breath test can have their license suspended and they can be subject to an increase in their insurance rates.

Refusing to submit to a breath test does not mean that the driver is not going to be convicted of DUI because although the state does not have the result to show that a driver has a high BAC, prosecutors may be able to use the testimony of an officer who stopped the driver or other witnesses in the area. Eyewitnesses, for example, may be able to testify that your driving was reckless or erratic. The officer who stopped you may also testify that you showed signs of intoxication such as the strong odor of alcohol, bloodshot or glassy eyes, slurry speech, or unsteadiness.

Refusing to take a test automatically results in license suspension. This is why it is important to seek an experienced DUI defense attorney who can help you protect your freedom and your future if you’re facing DUI/DWI charges in New Jersey.

Speak to an Experienced DUI/DWI Lawyer at The Kugel Law Firm

The refusal to take a breathalyzer test in New Jersey carries a separate penalty from a DWI. If you are convicted of both charges, penalties can be doubled. This is why it is important to seek the help of an experienced DUI/DWI lawyer right away. 

The Kugel Law Firm is committed to protecting our client’s rights and freedom. Attorney Rachel Kugel and our team have repeatedly demonstrated our ability to succeed in the most challenging and complex drunk driving cases in New Jersey. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Consequences of Refusing Breathalyzer Tests Description
License Suspension Refusing to take a breathalyzer test can result in the automatic suspension of your driver’s license.
Increased Insurance Rates Drivers who refuse to take a chemical or breath test may experience an increase in their insurance rates.
Potential Conviction Without BAC Evidence Refusing the breath test does not guarantee avoidance of a DUI conviction. Prosecutors can use other evidence, such as officer testimony or witness statements, to establish intoxication.

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