Jersey City, NJ Refusal Attorneys
When you or a loved one are investigated for suspicion of Driving While Intoxicated, the officers will almost certainly ask you for permission to conduct a Breathalyzer test. They will inform you that you have the right to refuse, but that refusing will result in additional charges. In an attempt to avoid detection for intoxication, drivers often refuse to provide their “breath” for the Breathalyzer test. When this happens, the officer typically charges the defendant with an offense under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.2, “Consent to Taking of Samples Deemed Given; Refusal”. Moreover, because the officers can prove intoxication through the Field Sobriety Tests and their observations, the driver will end up being charged with both a DWI and a Refusal. The cumulative effect of these two charges is rather significant as each carries its own set of stiff penalties, if convicted.
The criminal defense team at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall is comprised of former Municipal and County Prosecutors. Our attorneys have spent parts of their careers both defending and prosecuting against Refusal charges. Hudson County is one of the most traveled counties in the state and has accumulated over 2,321 DWI Charges between July 2011 and June 2013 alone! A majority of these offenses occur within Jersey City, Kearny, Hoboken, Bayonne, Weehawken and Union City. If you or a loved one currently faces charges stemming from a DWI and a Refusal to Submit to a Breathalyzer, then contact our Jersey City office at (201) 309-1800 and speak with an attorney today. Your initial consultation is always provided free of charge.
N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.2 Consent to Taking of Samples Deemed Given; Refusal
What is Refusal to Submit to a Breathalyzer in Hoboken, NJ?
Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.2, by simply driving on any public road, street or highway or quasi-public area, a person is deemed to have given consent to the State to perform breathalyzer examinations. However, if a driver refuses to submit to such a test, the Prosecutor must prove the following to convict the individual:
- That the arresting officer had probable cause to believe that the defendant was operating a motor vehicle while being under the influence of alcohol
- That the incident took place on a public road, street, highway or quasi-public area;
- That the driver refused to submit to the Alcotest machine;
- That the request for the defendant to take the test was made by a police officer who had reasonable grounds to believe that the defendant had been operating a motor vehicle while being intoxicated; &
- That the attempt to administer the Alcotest machine was conducted in accordance with the provisions of the implied consent statute.
There is an incredibly low threshold to determine what a “refusal” is. Courts apply a standard that anything “substantially short of an unqualified, unequivocal assent to an officer’s request” by the defendant to submit a breath sample will constitute a refusal.
What are the Penalties for a Refusal in Weehawken, NJ?
Similar to DWI violations, the penalties for a refusal to submit a blood test in Hudson County will vary depending on how many prior similar offenses have been committed.
First Offense Violation:
- If convicted for refusal to submit to a breath sample, the defendant’s license for at least seven (7) months but not more than one (1) year. The defendant will also face fines ranging from $450 to $1000, will be required to attend an Intensive Drivers Resource Center for twelve hours and must install the ignition interlock device.
Second Offense Violation:
- If convicted of a second refusal to submit a breath sample, or refusal in connection with a second offense of driving while intoxicated, the defendant will be subjected to a mandatory two-year suspension of their driver’s license. Additionally, the defendant will be subject to a fine between $700 and $1,300, be required to attend an Intensive Drivers Resource Center for forty-eight hours and must install the ignition interlock device.
Third or Subsequent Offense:
- If the defendant’s refusal to submit to a breath sample is in connection with a third or subsequent drunken driving offense, the defendant will be treated as a third offender. As a third offender, the defendant’s driver’s license will be suspended for a 10 years. This period of may not be served concurrently, but rather consecutively, to any suspension imposed as a result of a companion drunk driving conviction. Moreover, the defendant will be fined $1,300, be required to attend an Intensive Drivers Resource Center and must install the ignition interlock device.
If the violation in question occurs within a School Zone, then the penalties will be more severe. The following are instances that will invoke School Zone penalties for a DWI:
- If the driver is within 1000 feet of property used for “school purposes”; or,
- The driver drove through a school crossing that has been designated as such by ordinance or resolution; or
- The driver drove through a school crossing knowing that juveniles are actually present, whether or not it has been designated as such by ordinance.
In regard to the first and second requirements listed above, it is not necessary for the prosecution to prove that you knew of your presence within a school zone. If you have been stopped for a DWI in a school zone at an hour or time of year when school is not in session, you are still subject to the increased penalties associated with the charge. However, as set forth by the third requirement, if the DWI in a School Zone offense occurs in an area that has not been approved by a legislative ordinance, then the prosecution must prove that you knew that children were present at the time of the offense.
If the violation is a first offense within a School Zone then the court will impose a fine between $600 and $1,000, along with a period of license suspension between one (1) and two (2) years. For a second offense, you will be facing a fine between $1,000 and $2,000, as well as a license suspension for a period of four (4) years. For a third or subsequent offense, a fine of $2,000 and a license suspension for twenty (20) years.
Hudson County NJ Refusal Defense Attorneys
As you can see, the penalties for refusing to submit to a Breathalyzer are rather significant. Speak with a Hudson County attorney today about how we can help you with your Refusal or DWI charges by contacting the Law Offices of Jonathan Marshall. Our office has over 100 years of combined experience on staff, including over twenty-five years of prior prosecuting. If you or a loved one has been charged with an offense like driving under the influence, driving while suspended, criminal mischief, stalking, shoplifting, refusing to submit to a breath test or leaving the scene of an accident in towns like Weehawken, Harrison, Guttenberg, North Bergen or Hoboken, we can help. For more information please contact our Jersey City office at (201) 309-1800 for a free initial consultation.