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Understanding implied consent laws

If you're pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence, you still do have certain rights. For example, you technically have the right to refuse to take a breath test. However, just having the right does not mean there are no ramifications to your actions.

In New Jersey, Implied Consent Laws are used to mandate that drivers have to take the test or face the same penalties as if they'd taken and failed the test. Essentially, the law says that you agree to take the test each time you get on a roadway in the state.

If you don't take it, you can then be arrested by the officer, who needs no other proof to bring you in. You could face surcharges that could last for as long as three years. You could also lose your driver's license for as long as year. These are the same types of sentences that you could be given if you took the breath test and it shows that your Blood Alcohol Concentration was at or above the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

For those who are under the legal drinking age of 21 years old, the laws are even more stiff, as they're not allowed to have a BAC of 0.01 or more. The Implied Consent Laws also apply to underage drivers.

While it's important to know how state laws work as soon as you get pulled over, it's also good to keep this in mind if you're already facing charges. You must know what legal options you have as your court date draws near, based on the reason you were arrested and the laws that are being used.

Source: FindLaw, "Implied Consent Laws," accessed Feb. 25, 2016

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