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What if I just say no to a breath test request?

At some point or another, everyone has heard this: "It's a free country." In fact, New Jersey is part of a country that is freer than many, but that does not mean that we have free rein to do whatever we like. You can't shout "Fire" in a crowded theater, even under the Constitution's guarantee of free speech.

Similarly, you might feel you have a right to say no to a request from the police to submit to a breath test if you are stopped for suspected drunk driving. However, you could find yourself facing some harsh consequences if you do so. Under New Jersey state law, your consent to a breath test is assumed simply because you are driving.

What's important for anyone in this situation to remember is that there are specific steps authorities are required to take when gathering this kind of evidence. They know what those steps are. So do experienced DUI/DWI defense attorneys. Chances are you do not, which is why it's always a good idea to comply with the law and seek the help of legal counsel.

If results of a blood or breath test are worth challenging for any reason, a skilled attorney can identify when the conditions are right.

Every state has some form of implied consent law on the books. In New Jersey, the law carries penalties that can include a fine of up to $1,000 and a suspension of driving privileges for the first offense. The fines and suspensions only increase for those who refuse to submit to testing on a second or third offense.

There are opponents to no-refusal policies. Their argument is that it violates a driver's protections against unreasonable search and seizure. So far, though, court challenges have not succeeded in pulling the plug on these policies.

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