An experienced NJ DWI attorney frequently is confronted with refusal offenses as a companion summons to a New Jersey DWI arrest. Most individuals I interview who have been charged with refusal usually have similar questions regarding the charged offense:
1) Didn’t I have the right to an attorney before taking the breath test?
2) How can I be charged with refusal when I didn’t understand what the officer said?
3) I was always told that it is better to refuse than to blow, isn’t that true?
4) How can it be a refusal when I tried to blow into the machine and it didn’t work?
The above refusal questions are typical, but not all inclusive. What most people do not realize is that when one applies for a NJ driver’s license, what results is a contract of sorts. One of the terms of this contract is that if you are arrested (with probable cause) for a suspected NJ DWI offense, then you must submit to a chemical breath test when it is requested PROPERLY. This concept is know as the implied consent laws.
As stated, in order for this law to apply, the police must have probable cause to arrest you. For example, were you stopped for a valid reason, did you fail the field sobriety test, or did the officer administer them incorrectly, were you legally “operating” the vehicle. These are just a few initial inquiries a NJ DWI attorney will make in an attempt to suppress the evidence associated with your arrest, including the refusal.
Assuming probable cause exist, there are a number of defenses that can be asserted in refusal cases regarding the action of the officer administering the refusal rights form. This is the long, complicated, legal lingo form that the officer reads from prior to the breath test. The form must be read verbatim, in my experience, there have been many occasions when the arresting officer did not comply with proper procedure during this stage of the DWI arrest. This includes failing to take into account certain health and ages issues when a DWI suspect fails to produce an adequate volume of breath sample.
Surprisingly enough, the NJ Supreme Court recently held that a NJ DWI suspect who did not speak English was guilty of refusal even though he did not understand the refusal rights form. Other decisions have likewise confounded defense attorneys. Nonetheless, I have successfully defended numerous refusal cases. Each case must be scrutinized carefully to determine the defendant’s available defenses, and refusal charges can be beaten.
If convicted of a refusal offense, the typical period of DL suspension is 7 months. This suspension may or may not run concurrent to the DWI offense if convicted of the same.
I can be contacted 24/7 to discuss the specifics of your DWI or Refusal charges. Do not think that these cases can’t be won. They can, and you need a New Jersey DWI lawyer to help you get there.