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Penalties for a DWI chemical test refusal

On Behalf of | Apr 4, 2022 | DUI/DWI/OUI |

State laws give police officers in New Jersey the right to test drivers if they suspect that the motorist is drunk driving. Police officers often administer chemical testing, which includes breath, urine, and blood tests. If the driver refuses chemicals testing, they may face various penalties.

Overview of chemical testing and fines

All states have implied consent laws, which state that drivers have given consent to testing when they get a license. Officers often administer these tests as proof of drunk driving, and the prosecution may use them in court.

Standard drivers with a blood alcohol content level over 0.08% can get charged with DWI and lower for commercial drivers at 0.04%. A driver is considered drunk in New Jersey when they can’t control their vehicle with the same capacity of a sober person. Drivers who refuse these tests may get penalized if the officer had probable cause to believe the driver had control of the vehicle.

Penalties for refusing chemical tests

Drivers who refuse chemical tests face a license suspension of seven to 12 months and a $300-$500 fine. If caught near a school zone, the fines increase to a minimum of $600, and license suspension increases to one to two years. First offenses for refusal require the driver to participate a minimum of 12 hours in the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center program.

After the suspension period is complete, the driver is required to install an ignition interlock device for 12 months. The driver must pay an insurance surcharge of $1,000 per year for three years for a first refusal. Officers are required by law to inform a driver of the consequences of chemical test refusal before they administer the test.

Drivers may commonly refuse to take field sobriety tests without penalty. A driver may also challenge chemical test results in court with defenses.