Refusing to Take a Blood Alcohol Test in New Jersey


When you’ve been pulled over while driving, one of the first questions you’ll often face from the police officer is “have you been drinking?” If you answer affirmatively, the officer will customarily ask you to submit to either a field sobriety test or a blood alcohol test. Can you refuse to take a breath test? What are the consequences if you do?

The Concept of Implied Consent

Under New Jersey law, the doctrine of implied consent applies when you are pulled over in a traffic stop. The implied consent law stipulates that, should you be lawfully detained by a law enforcement officer who has probable cause to believe that you are under the influence of alcohol, the fact that you are behind the wheel is considered implied consent to allow you to be subjected to a blood alcohol test.

The officer cannot compel you to take the test. However, the test must be administered at the time of your detention and refusal to submit to the test may have consequences. According to New Jersey law, the first time you wrongfully refuse to submit to a BAC test, you face a seven month suspension of your driving privileges. A second refusal (during a separate arrest) can result in a two year suspension and a third refusal can cause you to lose your driving privileges for 10 year. There’s also typically a fine assessed for refusing to take a blood alcohol test—anywhere from $300 to $1,000, depending on how many times you’ve been convicted.

Challenging Your License Suspension

The most effective way to challenge your license suspension is to bring the validity of the traffic stop into question. Police must have probable cause to stop you…if you can show there was no probable cause, any evidence gathered by the police officer will be inadmissible and the charges may be dropped.

Contact Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich

To schedule a free initial consultation, contact my office online or call me at 732-257-1137. Evening and weekend consultations are available by appointment. I accept all major credit cards.