Is Confusion a Valid Refusal Defense in NJ?

nj-license-suspension-lawsIf you are being charged with a DUI in New Jersey, it is important to understand what you could be facing. To be clear in NJ, the term DUI stands for “driving under the influence” and applies to both drugs and alcohol use.

After your arrest, the level of alcohol in your blood is often determined by using a breathalyzer test. The directions for how to use the machine and how long you have to breath into the device will be explained to you by the officer before the test is given. If you do not understand the instructions and its possible implications, and you decline to take the test or explain that you are confused by it, you may face a charge under New Jersey’s refusal law. You don’t want to face a refusal charge alone.

Charged With Refusal?

If you were pulled over for driving under the influence and asked to submit to a breathalyzer test after your arrest, did you refuse to take the breathalyzer test? If you did, then the police may charge you with DUI test refusal which may be as punishing as a DUI conviction.

Were You Confused About the Breath Test?

In New Jersey, we have what is known as an implied consent law which requires that all drivers on the roads of NJ submit to testing should they be suspected of drunk driving. However, if you are indeed intoxicated at the time of the refusal, or perhaps you do not speak English fluently, your ability to understand the implied consent law may be hampered. You may be overly confused and nervous when stopped for drunk driving, affecting your ability to understand what is being asked of you.

Perhaps the police officer giving you the breathalyzer test did not allow you ample time to read the Standard Statement form explaining your requirement to submit the breath sample. Perhaps you were improperly advised or did not fully understand the directions regarding how to properly take the test. These are all possible arguments you may want to make in response to a refusal charge.

The courts of New Jersey sometimes allow the confusion defense in limited circumstances, although it is not commonly a successful way to completely defeat a refusal charge. The burden of proof is on the defendant to fully illustrate that he or she was confused about what was being read to them at the time the breath test was issued.

Contact Villani & DeLuca Today

If the police have arrested you for refusal in relation to a DUI, it is imperative that you contact a lawyer for advice on how to proceed with your defense. As stated, refusal charges are not best argued by a person defending him or herself in court. Contact Villani & DeLuca today for experienced advice from practicing DUI and refusal lawyers. Call Villani & DeLuca today for a free consultation on your refusal charge in New Jersey.

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