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What happens when a driver refuses a breath test

When New Jersey drivers receive their driver's licenses, they agree to submit to a breath test just by using the roadways, which is due to the state's implied consent law. If drivers refuse to take a breath test, they could potentially be taken into police custody and be required to submit to a blood test at a hospital.

Even if a motorist is found to be under the legal limit for blood-alcohol content, he or she could still face severe consequences for failing to submit to a breath test including having to pay a $1,000 MVC insurance surcharge every year for the next three years. Failure to pay the surcharge could result in the motorist getting his or her driver's license suspended until the fee is paid off.

Not only will a driver who refuses to take a breath test potentially be forced to submit to a blood test at a nearby hospital, but the penalty he or she faces is equal to a first-offense drunk driving conviction. The driver could potentially lose his or her driving privileges for up to a year and may even have to deal with other consequences.

If a driver is pulled over by a police officer and accused of drunk driving, he or she could potentially be confronted with long-term consequences that include probation and loss of driving privileges. A criminal law attorney may help his or her clients keep some of their driving privileges so they can continue to get to work and run errands while their cases are still active. If this is someone's first offense, a lawyer may also be able to reduce the severity of the penalties or seek alternative punishments that will not have as large an impact on the person's life.

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