Articles Posted in Refusal

Under normal circumstances, the police need only a few things to charge a person with refusal. Although this remains true there have been certain case law clarifications that may provide a window of opportunity for those currently facing refusal charges. I have made these arguments and won. Not every attorney is aware of them.

Regardless it is important to understand what is necessary for the police to proceed on a refusal charge.

First they need to establish that there was probable cause for the arrest. This means that there was a legitimate reason to stop the motor vehicle. It also means that there were, in the totality of the circumstances, enough indicators that you may have committed the offense of driving while intoxicated. Probable cause is not the same as beyond A reasonable doubt. It’s a much lesser burden. None the less, the police must show that it was reasonable for them to act in the way that they did. The report will contain many different statements about how you looked, smelled, talked, walked, etc.

This is a synopsis of fines, fees, loss of license, IDRC, ignition interlock, jail, surcharges, etc, for all levels of NJSA 39:4-50 conviction and most refusal offenses in New Jersey. Remember that the exact penalties you face will depend on the facts of your particular case and DWI history. Therefore, this table is only a guide:

First Offense DWI BAC .08% or more but less than .10% or operating under the influence of alcohol:

1)Fine $250-$400

In State v Marquez, the NJ Supreme Court held that an individual arrested for DWI/DUI has the right to be informed of the consequences of refusing to consent (to submit) to an Alcotest (Breathalyzer) in the language that they speak. In this case, the defendant was arrested for DWI in New Jersey. It was clear that he did not speak English. When the Police brought him to the police station, the read to him, in English, what is commonly referred to as the Standard Statement. This eleven paragraph form informs the individual arrested for DWI what will happen should he/she refuse to blow into the machine. It was clear that Marquez did not understand, so the officers demonstrated what he was supposed to do (pantomime blowing into the Alcotest).

Even those who speak English have a tough time understanding this form. Most don’t realize that a first conviction for refusal means no less than a seven month loss of license.

Prior to this decision, courts examining this issue had held that it was not necessary for the Standard Form to be read in the suspect’s language before charging the individual with refusal. The reasoning behind this being that, under this State’s implied consent laws (NJSA 39:4-50.2) a person who applies for and receives a NJ driver’s license has, in essence, already agreed that he/she has an obligation to submit to a chemical test if arrested for DWI. The only requirement is that police read the standard form, in English, to the suspect. One could think of it like a contract you sign with the State when you get your license. Nonetheless, prior to being charged with refusal, the police must inform you of the consequences of doing so.

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