What Does Implied Consent Mean if Stopped for DUI/DWI in New Jersey?
Most states — including New Jersey — enforce implied consent laws that state that drivers must agree to chemical testing if stopped on suspicion of drunk driving. Those drivers who refuse to test typically face serious consequences, even if found to be within the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limits. Criminal defense attorneys have ways to fight both DUI/DWI charges and penalties for non-compliance with implied consent, so stopped drivers charged with either offense should consult a New Jersey DWI lawyer for advice.
What Is Implied Consent?
Implied consent is a condition tied to a person’s driver’s license to operate a vehicle within a given state. As determined by the state’s laws in which a person is arrested, implied consent generally requires that drivers must show a driver’s license and proof of insurance upon request and must comply with DUI tests. Individuals may be asked to take field sobriety tests administered on location and/or give breath, blood or urine samples to law enforcement officials or authorized lab personnel in a medical facility.
What Is New Jersey’s Implied Consent Law?
In New Jersey, drivers over 21 with a BAC of .08 percent or more are considered per se intoxicated. Under the state’s zero-tolerance policy, drivers under 21 cannot have a BAC of .01 percent or higher. According to New Jersey implied consent laws, all people driving on New Jersey roads must submit to a breath test when they are stopped for a DUI or DWI-related offense. A controversial new state Supreme Court decision imposes a requirement for officers to explain the implied consent law to suspects in their own language.
Is Compliance Mandatory?
In all states, non-compliance with implied consent activities has consequences, including driver’s license suspension, fines and jail time. If stopped drivers refuse to yield to a breath test in New Jersey, law enforcement can arrest and detain them, and they may endure up to three years of driver’s license suspension, even when there are no DUI or DWI charges incurred. The breath test refusal is considered the same as driving drunk with a BAC of .08 percent or more.
How Can a Drunk Driving Defense Lawyer Help?
Criminal defense lawyers often argue that since convicted drunk drivers are already subject to DUI/DWI laws and their penalties, license suspension due to non-compliance with implied consent laws should be avoided or declassified to avoid double jeopardy issues. Criminal defense attorneys also look to procedural failures by law enforcement personnel to minimize or dismiss the consequences of DUI/DWI or implied consent charges.
If you were recently stopped for drunk driving and refused a sobriety or breath test in New Jersey, or you were charged with DUI/DWI, contact a New Jersey criminal defense attorney with experience in drunk driving cases to discuss your legal rights and options immediately.