Many drivers are unsure of their rights when they arrested for driving while intoxicated. Can I refuse a breath test? Can I refuse a blood test? These are common and important questions in DUI cases, and a US Supreme Court ruling from last June gives us a clear and definitive answer to these questions.
In the controversial Birchfield v North Dakota case, police charged Birchfield with refusing to submit to a blood alcohol content test, specifically giving blood to be
chemically tested. Birchfield challenged the constitutionality of having to provide blood samples for testing, specifically that it violated his Fourth Amendment rights.
The Fourth Amendment is the amendment that protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures. While it was written long before breath and blood testing was a possibility, the amendment has come to be a protection of not only your property and home from unreasonable searches and seizures, but your body as well.
In Birchfield v North Dakota, the US Supreme Court found that warrantless blood testing was in fact, illegal, but that implied consent laws still allowed for warrantless breath tests. This means that police cannot perform a blood test on you in the case of a DUI arrest unless they secure a warrant from a judge allowing them to do so.
Implied Consent in New Jersey
When you obtain a New Jersey driver’s license, you sign a waiver allowing for the police to perform breath tests on you without a warrant any time there is sufficient probable cause to do so. Probable cause includes slurred speech, general behavior, visible empty containers of alcohol in the car, or an odor of alcohol present. This is what is known as implied consent, by agreeing to the terms of obtaining a driver’s license, you are giving your consent for the police to perform these tests on you.
This means that if an officer asks you to submit to a breathalyzer test, you must either comply, or you can be arrested for driving under the influence of your mere refusal.
While implied consent remains controversial, the fact of the matter is that it is currently the law, and as such must be respected. If you are arrested for a DUI or refusal to submit to a breath test, your best option is to contact an experienced Monmouth County lawyer to help you fight the charges and the officer’s probable cause for your arrest.
Contact A Monmouth County, NJ DUI Lawyer Today
If you are currently facing a driving while intoxicated charge or refusal to submit to a breath test, the West Long Branch law firm of Chamlin, Uliano & Walsh can help. We understand how police collect evidence and present it against you in court, and we are prepared to contest this evidence and protect your rights. Whether it be an improperly calibrated testing device, a lack of probable cause, or a violation of your Fourth Amendment rights, we are prepared to mount the strongest possible defense for you.
To speak with one of our experienced Red Bank DUI/DWI attorneys today, contact us online or through our West Long Branch offices at 732-440-3950.