Understanding New Jersey’s implied consent law

In New Jersey, officers may stop your vehicle if they suspect you are violating the law. They need not think that you are driving drunk, though. On the contrary, officers may pull over your vehicle for failure to comply with ordinary traffic rules. They may also stop you without any reason at a sobriety checkpoint. 

If you have been driving for a few years, you probably do not give much thought to your driving privileges. Still, if you drive under the influence of alcohol, you face a possible suspension of your driver’s license. As such, it is critical to defend yourself aggressively against DUI charges.

Implied consent 

Breath tests are not always reliable. Nonetheless, if an officer suspects that you have a blood alcohol concentration above the state’s 0.08% legal limit, he or she may ask you to breathe into a breathalyzer testing device. By driving on roadways in the Garden State, you have already consented to BAC testing. Therefore, you may not refuse to provide a breath sample without facing consequences.

Refusal consequences 

Refusing to provide a breath sample has a negative effect on your driving privileges. If you do not comply with an officer’s request, you may incur the following penalties:

  • For first-time offenders, a seven-month driver’s license suspension
  • For second-time offenders, a two-year driver’s license suspension
  • For third-time and subsequent offenders, a 10-year driver’s license suspension

The above penalties are often a most-favorable-case scenario for drivers who refuse to provide a sample. If officers stop you in a school zone, for example, you can expect a license suspension that is twice as long. Furthermore, you are apt to pay stiff fines or face other consequences for refusing to comply with an officer’s testing request.

To avoid DUI charges, never drive after consuming too much alcohol. Put simply, in New Jersey, you do not have the right to refuse a breath test. By understanding the state’s implied consent law, you can better plan for keeping your driving privileges.