What is implied consent and how does it apply to New Jersey residents who are arrested for a DUI/DWI?
If you’ve been charged with driving under the influence, or a DUI/DWI, in New Jersey, you are legally required to submit to chemical tests of your breath, blood or urine to determine the level of your blood alcohol content (BAC).
Although implied consent laws vary by state, it’s understood- or implied- that you agreed to submit to these tests back when you signed papers to get your driver’s license. The DriversEd website states it best: “when you get behind the wheel, you have already answered “yes” to allow a chemical test of your BAC if requested by a law enforcement officer.”
If a police officer has probable cause to believe that you have been driving while under the influence, then it’s assumed you consent to taking a chemical test at the time of your arrest. It’s illegal to refuse to submit to a test, yet an officer can’t force you to take one either.
The consequences for refusing to take a chemical test in New Jersey can be serious, beginning with a fine of anywhere from $300 to $500 and a suspension of your license for a period of seven months. If this is the second time you’ve refused to submit to a test, you may lose your license for two years and pay an even heftier fine of $500 to $1,000, depending on a variety of factors. A third refusal will result in a suspension of your license for 10 years and a fine of $1,000. The punishment for refusing to take a test upon being arrested for a DWI while driving on school grounds, through a school crossing or within 1,000 feet of a school, are considerably more serious- the penalties are doubled. To put it simply, the consequences may be more severe if you refuse to submit to a chemical test than if you fail the test.
A person with a BAC of 0.08% or more who operates a motor vehicle or a boat in New Jersey is considered to be driving under the influence. Those who operate a commercial vehicle, such as a tow truck, bus, or tractor trailer have a legal limit of 0.04%, while drivers younger than 21-years-old are considered impaired if they have any amount of alcohol in their system, meaning a BAC above 0.00%.
If you have been charged with a DUI/DWI in Burlington County, New Jersey or the surrounding area, contact the law office of Sitzler & Sitzler at 609-267-1101 to schedule a free consultation or case evaluation. Our DUI/DWI criminal defense lawyers will use every tool at their disposal to keep you out of jail and protect your freedom.