Those driving the roads of New Jersey are required to submit two breath samples upon request by a law enforcement officer upon arrest for drunk driving. You do not have a right to a lawyer first, and the test does not violate your Fifth Amendment rights. Refusal to give a sample can have serious consequences.

So What Are the Penalties for Refusal?

In essence, the penalties for refusal are the same as for drunk driving, except for jail time Therefore there is no real upside to refusal, and they can still charge you with drunk driving as well! In addition, refusal can make it more difficult to avoid the consequences, as certain defenses may no longer be available.

First Offense

If this is the first time you have faced charges for refusal, then:

  • License suspension until an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) is installed on one motor vehicle you own, lease, or principally drive.
  • Payment of $100 restoration fee following installation of IID
  • Ignition Interlock Device for 9 to 15 months.

However, you also face the consequences of the drunk driving charge as well. Any license suspension or IID installation period would run concurrently, but you would incur, and have to pay, fines and costs on both.

Second Offense

If this is the second time you have faced charges for refusal, then:

  • License suspension until an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) is installed on one motor vehicle you own, lease, or principally drive.
  • Driver’s License Suspension: 1-2 years
  • Payment of $100 restoration fee on the license
  • Ignition Interlock Device: 2-4 years

Unlike with a first offense, though, you can plead to one charge in return for the dismissal of the other. Most people will plead guilty to the DUI in return for the dismissal of the refusal, although if the field sobriety test is only good enough to show probable cause to arrest, but not proof of intoxication beyond a reasonable doubt, then a plea to refusal could result in the DUI being dismissed.

Third Offense

If this is the third or subsequent time you have faced charges for refusal, then:

  • License suspension until an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) is installed on one motor vehicle you own, lease, or principally drive.
  • Driver’s License Suspension: 8 years
  • Payment of $100 restoration fee on the license
  • Ignition Interlock Device: 2-4 years

You also can have your pick of which you plead to. If this charge is accompanied by a third offense DUI, then pleading to the refusal and dismissing the DUI would avoid the 180 day jail sentence.

Do I Need a Lawyer for a Refusal Charge?

Absolutely! A refusal charge is almost always accompanied by a DUI charge, and the first significantly complicates the second! You need a lawyer to help you navigate the complexities and get you the best result possible!

If you have been charged with drunk driving in Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Salem or Cumberland County, please feel free to call me at 856-432-4113 or contact me through this site to schedule a free consultation.

If you are looking for more information on New Jersey's drunk driving law, then download my free book, How Much Trouble Am I In? A Guide to New Jersey Drunk Driving Law.

Related Topics

If you liked this information and found it useful, then you might like or need these others:

Steven J. Richardson
Connect with me
Bankruptcy, Collections, Student Loan, DUI and Traffic Court attorney in Woodbury, NJ.

Offices

Richardson Law Offices