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Mr. Tumelty represented Helena Hendricks, who was charged with first degree murder in Atlantic County Superior Court. The defendant faced a number of additional charges, including armed robbery, conspiracy and possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose. At the conclusion of a jury trial that lasted three weeks, the defendant was found "not guilty" of all charges.

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Can You Refuse a Breath Test During a DWI Stop in NJ?

If you get pulled over by a police officer in New Jersey and he or she believes you are driving drunk, it’s likely they will require you to take a Breathalyzer test. Many people wonder what will happen if they refuse to take the test; they think that if they refuse, perhaps evidence of their blood alcohol level will disappear with time.

Good theory and you may even be correct. If given enough time, your blood alcohol level (BAC) will reduce. On the other hand, when it comes to DWI/DUI charges, your decision to refuse will get you in more trouble than blowing a high BAC.

In New Jersey, there is an implied consent law. This means that when you accepted your New Jersey driver’s license, you agreed to submit to the Alcotest, also called a chemical test, if you ever were to get pulled over and suspected of driving while intoxicated. Failing to take the chemical test will likely get you charged with both drunk driving and refusing to take the breath test. Penalties include fines and license suspension.

Penalties for Refusing to Take a Breath Test in NJ:

  • First offense: seven months loss of license
  • Second offense:  two year loss of license
  • Third offense:  10 year loss of license

According to NJ’s Implied Consent Law (NJ 39:4-50.2), a police officer cannot force you to take the test. However, if an officer suspects you of DUI/DWI and lawfully arrests you because they have probable cause to charge you with driving while intoxicated, taking the test is one way to convince them of your innocence. Failing to take the test at the time of your arrest will be held against you.

If you or someone you love gets charged with drinking and driving in Cape May or Atlantic counties, contact criminal defense lawyer John W. Tumelty right away. He knows there are ways to get breath test results discredited. Contact him today about your DWI charges.


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