What to do if I am asked to take a breathalyzer test by an officer?
New Jersey has an implied consent statute that requires a driver to submit to breath testing upon an officer’s request. Failure to perform a breathalyzer test could lead to convictions for BOTH drunk driving and refusal.
It is always important to comply with an officer’s request to give breath samples. Any challenges to the procedures used or the machine itself are best made in court following review of the State’s evidence. Some people (particularly those that live in States with different laws) believe that they are better off refusing a breath test. This is a serious mistake, since in New Jersey, you can be convicted for drunk driving based on the officer’s observations alone. By refusing a breath test, a person exposes themselves to the very real potential of being convicted of BOTH refusal and drunk driving. The refusal charge is much easier to prove for the prosecution and carries with it alone a 7 month to 1 year loss of license along with substantial fines and other penalties.
If you get pulled over remember:
- Be polite and respectful and cooperate with the officer.
- Do not volunteer any information about where you were drinking or how much you had to drink. You do not have to answer those questions.
- Don't refuse the breathalyzer.
- Ask for a printout of the breathalyzer results.
- Arrange for a blood test as soon as you are released from the custody of the officer by going to a local hospital or walk in medical facility and ask that blood be drawn for blood alcohol content so that it can be compared with the results of the breathalyzer.
- Also when you are released gather as many friends or family members as you can to witness your condition and then take video of you performing certain tests such as reciting the alphabet, walking a straight line, closing your eyes and putting your head back and fingers to nose. This video will be good evidence to refute the officer’s observations. You should make sure that someone credible takes the video for you and that they are willing to act as a witness on your behalf.
If you have been charged with drunk driving, driving under the influence of drugs or refusal to submit to a breathalyzer in New Jersey, whether it’s your first time or you’ve faced charges before, we can help. We are experienced New Jersey DWI/DUI lawyers.