I am often asked by people if they are stopped for a DWI should they consent and take a breath test. My answer is, in almost all situations, an unequivocal, “yes.”
Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious offense and can have severe consequences.
In New Jersey and New York, when a person obtains a driver's license, they have given their implied consent to submit to a breathalyzer or blood test if they are suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol. Refusing to submit to a breath test can result in immediate penalties and can be used against the driver in court.
Here are some reasons why you should never refuse to submit to a DWI breath test:
- Legal Penalties: Refusing to submit to a breath test results in penalties. In New Jersey, for a first time offender, the penalty for a refusal can be more severe than a drunk driving conviction.
- Evidence against you: If you refuse to submit to a breath test, the prosecution can use this refusal as evidence against you in court. This can be seen as an indication of guilt and can make it harder for you to defend yourself against a DWI charge.
- Mandatory testing: In New Jersey, if you refuse to submit to a breath test, the police can ask a judge to obtain a warrant to take your blood. Blood tests are considered more accurate than breath tests, and the results can be even more incriminating.
- Limited options: If you refuse to submit to a breath test, you may limit your legal options. If you did take a breath test, this gives your lawyer the ability to question the results of that test. With a refusal, there is no such defense..
In short, refusing to submit to a DWI breath test can result in severe legal penalties, limit your legal options, and be used against you in court. So take that breath test and give your lawyer a better chance of defending you.