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Know the law: Can I refuse a breathalyzer test?

It’s a pretty common question. You may have even talked to your friends about it at the bar. Can you refuse to take a breathalyzer test?

If you’re looking for a way to avoid a potential DUI, it may be a question on your mind. In New Jersey, the answer is clear.

New Jersey law

You can’t refuse to take a breathalyzer test if you have a New Jersey driver’s license. The state says that if a police officer has probable cause they are allowed to administer the test. Consent on the scene is not necessary, because you have already given consent by simply having a driver’s license.

How could that be? It’s called implied consent.

When you receive your license, you are giving implied consent to allow a breathalyzer test. If you refuse, you can be detained and brought to a hospital for a blood test. Refusing to take the test will not prevent you from getting a DUI. The day you received your driver’s license you agreed that an officer can administer a breathalyzer test if they have probable cause.

Avoiding DUI penalties

If refusing a breathalyzer test isn’t an option, what’s the best way to avoid penalties? Avoiding drinking and driving is always your best bet. Of course, that goes without saying. We know mistakes happen, and that the penalties can be severe.

Don’t look for a simple way out of a DUI, because there rarely is one. If you find yourself charged with a DUI, your best recourse is to work with an attorney who knows how to fight your charges. Avoiding the breathalyzer test isn’t the answer.