In New Jersey, failing to submit to a law officer’s request to take a breath test for driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a traffic offense under the state’s refusal statute. According to N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.4a, the motor vehicle operator is required to submit to being tested when suspected of drunk driving. The penalties for violation of this statute range from loss of driving privileges through revocation of the person’s driver’s license for various amounts of time to hefty fines.
The purpose of this law is to provide proof of guilt or innocence when an individual is suspected of DWI in New Jersey. Refusing to be tested doesn’t make the problem go away because there’s no “proof” of the offense. All it does is add another charge to the list of traffic offenses that accompany a charge of DWI. It is not required to have breathalyzer test results to charge a person with DWI.
Penalties for Second Offense DWI Test Refusal
Penalties vary for refusing a DWI breath test depending on the number of offenses the person has committed. For a first refusal offense, the person’s driver’s license will be suspended for at least seven months and for as long as one year. There will be a fine between $300 and $500, plus $1,000 annual surcharges and time consuming punishments such as attending an Intoxicated Driver’s Resource Center (IDRC) program to learn about the dangers of DWI. If the infraction is committed in what is deemed to be a school zone, the penalties are substantially more severe.
For a second offense, the person will have greater fines and a longer suspension of his or her driver’s license. The suspension is for two full years after a second refusal conviction. The fine rises to at least $500 and as much as $1,000. There are surcharges of $1,000 annually for three years. Plus there will be required attendance at IDRC as well as fees to such entities as the Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Fund ($100), the Drunk Driving Fund ($100), the Neighborhood Services Fund ($75) and $230 per day to attend the IDRC. If the second offense occurs in a school zone, the penalties rise to a fine between $1,000 and $2,000 with a four year suspension of the driver’s license.
Contact a DWI Refusal Attorney for Help
It can be a frightening experience to be pulled over and accused of driving while intoxicated whether a person is guilty or not. While refusing to take the test is an understandable reaction to the prospects of being arrested for the traffic offense of DWI, all it does is add another charge for the prosecution to pursue. If you or a loved one are facing a second offense of refusing to submit to a DWI breath test, you need to consult with a NJ DWI lawyer of Villani & DeLuca who is familiar with refusal charges.
The law firm of Villani & DeLuca in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey handles DWI and refusal cases on a daily basis in towns all over Ocean County and Monmouth County, such as Seaside Heights, Bradley Beach, Wall Township and Long Beach Island. The firm’s attorneys have extensive knowledge of New Jersey’s drunk driving laws and know how to deal with a second offense of refusing to submit to a DWI test. Call Villani & DeLuca today to discuss your legal options!