The New Jersey refusal statute, N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.4a, requires that any person driving on the roads of New Jersey agree to provide a breath sample when requested to do so by an officer of the law if suspected of driving while intoxicated. There is no way out of taking the test without there being penalties assessed for the refusal to do so. It is not necessary for a police officer to have a failed breath test to charge the motor vehicle operator with DWI.
DWI is a serious traffic infraction, as is refusal to submit to a breath test for DWI. The driver must be informed at the time of the arrest that he or she is required to take the test under New Jersey law, using the “standard statement” issued by the Attorney General’s Office. Refusal to perform a breath test after suspicion of drunk driving does not eliminate the problem. In fact, it likely exacerbates it by adding another charge in addition to DWI.
Penalties for a Third Offense of DWI Refusal
There are various penalties for refusing to take a DWI breath test. For the first offense, the person is subject to fines between $300 and $500 (doubled in a school zone), as well as the suspension of the driver’s license for between seven months and a year. For the second offense, the driver faces a fine of $500 to $1,000 as well as a two year license suspension. Both penalties also carry required surcharges, fees and the order to attend DWI educational programs.
When a driver is charged with a third offense of DWI refusal, the penalties become long term and severely expensive. A third offense of refusing to submit to a test for DWI includes a fine of $1,000 and $2,000 if the refusal occurs in a school zone. The person must attend an IDRC (Intoxicated Driver’s Resource Program) course for at least twelve hours to learn about the dangers of DWI. In addition, he or she will have to pay $230 per day of attendance. There will also have to be payments of $100 to the Drunk Driving Fund, $100 to the Alcohol and Rehabilitation Fund, and $75 to the Neighborhood Services Fund. Surcharges are $1,500 per year for three years. The biggest penalty is the suspension of the individual’s driver’s license as it will be for ten years, or twenty years if the infraction was committed in a school zone. That means that the person will not be allowed to drive legally for ten years simply because he or she made the decision to refuse to take a test for DWI.
Speak to a Qualified DWI Attorney
Have you or a loved one been charged with refusing to take a DWI breath test when requested to do so by a member of law enforcement for the third time? If this has occurred in any Ocean County or Monmouth County town, such as Toms River, Brick or Neptune, it’s important that you hire qualified legal representation by contacting the law firm of Villani & DeLuca in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey.
You might have made a mistake with driving under the influence previously and were scared of the consequences. Or the decision to refuse to take the DWI test could stem from fear that you would fail it. Whatever the reason, Villani & DeLuca can help you when facing a third offense of breath test refusal. The attorneys at Villani & DeLuca have extensive experience with DWI cases of all kinds and have been trained on field sobriety tests and the Alcotest breathalyzer used by New Jersey police. Take steps to protect yourself by having competent legal advice. Call the DWI lawyers of Villani & DeLuca today about your NJ refusal charge.