Refusing a Breath Test

If you are pulled over for a suspected DUI, the officer will more than likely subject you to a breath test.  If this happens, you may think that refusing the test will improve your chances of not being charged with a DUI.  You might think that it is your right to refuse it and doing so will prevent the results from being used against you in a court of law.  While there used to be some truth to this rationale, under current law, refusing a breath test can never help your case.  On the other hand, refusal can  increase the duration of your license suspension, increase fines, and additional penalties, including the installation of an interlock device on your car that you would not otherwise be subject to.

In the state of New Jersey, when you acquire a license, you give your  “implied consent” to a breath test in the event you are stopped for a suspected DUI.  There are no exceptions.  This is a clause that is automatically applied as a part of the process to obtain a license.  That being said, if you refuse a breath test, it is considered a separate offense in addition to DUI, and therefore carries additional penalties.  The following penalties are listed on the State’s website for refusing a breath test:


These are the penalties and fines you will face in addition to those applicable for  the DUI itself.  Refusing to take the breath test only strengthens the state’s case.  In all cases it is better to take the breath test and go to court facing only one charge and not two.

Defenses against Refusing a Breath test

As mentioned above, refusing the breath test complicates your case.  Nevertheless, there are ways to defend the charge in court.  Even breath test refusal cases can be dismissed if you hire a capable attorney who can demonstrate that: there was no lawful basis for the motor vehicle stop, the Alcotest machine was malfunctioning when breath samples were provided, and/or  that you were not properly advised of the breath testing procedures.

Call Fred Sisto today to ensure that you will receive all of the professional advice and guidance through the complex legal process.  It’s never a good idea to go into court alone.  Call him today at 732-898-3232.

Refusing a Breath Test