Confusion Doctrine

Refusal Charge Defense Lawyers NJ

Our DWI lawyers know too well how nervous and intimidated motorist can be when they are stopped by the police and the situation becomes more confusing when a request to submit a breath test is made. Do I have a right to consult a lawyer before deciding? Can you explain the instruction because I did not understand? What are the consequences if I refuse to submit to a breath test? These are but a few of the questions that can crop up when someone arrested on suspicion of DWI is confronted with the confusion associated with deciding whether or not to submit to a breath test. The Supreme Court of the NJ has, in fact, recognized how confusing this situation can be and, based thereon, has refused to disavow use of the “confusion doctrine” to avoid conviction for refusal in the appropriate case. If you were confused or did not understand what was happening when you were requested to take a breathalyzer test, our lawyers can help you. Our defense team includes at least four former DWI prosecutors and a crew of other attorneys who are experienced in asserting the confusion defense. A lawyer is available immediately to assist you at 877-450-8301. We hope you find the information that follows to be helpful.

When Can Confusion Be Used to Avoid a Refusal Conviction?

An individual taken into custody for allegedly driving while intoxicated is given two instructions following the arrest. The first instruction is what is commonly referred to as a Miranda warning (i.e. you have the right to remain silent, the right to representation by counsel . . .). The second instruction involves what is referred to as the standard consent statement which every individual must be read in conjunction with a request by police for a breath sample. The language used in this instruction is somewhat contradictory to the Miranda warning insofar as an individual is advised that he or she has no right to consult an attorney before deciding whether to blow into the breathalyzer. In other words, one moment an accused is advised that they may consult an attorney so that they do not potentially incriminate themselves but, in the next instant, they are told that they they must take a test that could be very incriminating. It is somewhat understandable that a person might be confused when confronted with this dilemma and, for this reason, the courts in New Jersey have permitted dismissal of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.4 charges based on confusion. It is important to keep in mind, however, that it is the burden of the defendant to prove that he was legitimately confused. This is where the assistance of a seasoned DWI defense lawyer like those at our firm can prove invaluable.

If You Did Not Understand the Refusal Instruction Our Lawyers Can Help!

Give us a call anytime 24/7 to discuss your refusal offense or any other DWI-related offense with an experienced lawyer.