When Can I Refuse An Alcohol Test?

Many drivers in Essex County and surrounding regions are confused about when they must comply with police requests at a traffic stop and when they can refuse.

At The Law Offices of Randy E. Lewis, LLC, in Newark, we understand that, when it comes to breath tests and field sobriety tests, knowing your rights and responsibilities is critical to avoiding costly mistakes. If you are arrested for a DUI, those tests will play a pivotal role in the outcome of your case.

Field Sobriety Tests

When an officer pulls you over, he or she is alert for slurred speech, the smell of alcohol or other signs of impairment. The officer may ask you to step out of the car and perform standard field sobriety tests to assess your balance, coordination and reflexes.

You are not under arrest at this point, and you have the right to refuse these tests. Many factors may cause you to fail a field sobriety test, and the results are often subjective.

However, if you refuse, officers may still arrest you based on other observations. You would be wise to contact a lawyer as soon as possible.

Alcohol Breath Tests

New Jersey law does not allow drivers to refuse to submit to a breath test that measure blood alcohol content. When you received your driver's license, you thereby consented to the test. Therefore, a refusal will likely result in an automatic seven-month suspension.

There are two exceptions where you can avoid the automatic license suspension:

  • Language barriers: Many drivers in New Jersey are not native English speakers. If you speak Spanish and there is no one to translate, you may be exempted from penalties.
  • Police misstatements: Some police officers may inadvertently state New Jersey law. If an officer tells you that you have a right to refuse the test, that inaccurate statement can be enough for drivers to avoid penalty.

Let Our Team Fight For You

Our attorney is fully prepared to defend your rights and work toward achieving the best possible outcome for your situation. If you face charges of drunk driving, our lawyer will prepare your defense by examining whether law enforcement violated your rights at any time before or after your arrest.

Call 973-536-2000 day or night for a free consultation, or use our online form.