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Can Police Make You Take A Sobriety Test in NJ?

January 24, 2021

do i have to take a breathalyzer test?

Being stopped for a DUI, whether as part of a random traffic stop or as part of an organized DUI checkpoint, can seem very intimidating. If police officers begin ordering you around, you may not have time to stop and think about what your rights are. However, there are a few things that cops can’t make you do during a DUI stop.

Read more: How Much Jail Time am I Facing for DUI?

Require You to Disclose If You’ve Had Anything to Drink

When you’ve been stopped for DUI during a traffic stop or at a checkpoint, the officer may ask you if you’ve had anything to drink, especially if they suspect from your demeanor or odor that you may be under the influence of alcohol. However, you do not have to tell police whether you’ve had any alcohol to drink, how much you’ve had to drink, or how long it has been since your last alcoholic beverage. If an officer asks you whether you’ve been drinking, you can politely but firmly decline to answer the question. It is always better not to offer any information in an attempt to talk your way out of the DUI stop.

Read more: DUI – First Offense in NJ – What Am I Facing?

Take a Portable Breath Test

You may not realize it, but under New Jersey law you are not required to submit to a handheld or portable breath test conducted at a roadside traffic stop or DUI checkpoint, even though many police may carry such devices. 

However, if you are arrested on suspicion of DUI, New Jersey’s implied consent law requires you to submit to a breathalyzer test conducted at the police station or a blood alcohol test; refusing to do so can lead to consequences including the suspension of your driver’s license, even if you are ultimately not convicted of DUI.

Submit to Field Sobriety Tests

You are also not required to submit to field sobriety tests. These tests include touching your nose with your fingertips, standing on one leg and walking in a straight line. Officers may not present their request to perform a field sobriety test as a choice, as they are not required to tell you that such tests are voluntary or to read you your Miranda rights before asking you to perform the tests.

By agreeing to perform the tests if you are intoxicated, you may give the officers sufficient evidence to arrest you for DUI on grounds that you are incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle, regardless of what your blood alcohol content is.

Read more: Will My DWI Affect My Job as a Teacher?

What to Do If You’ve Been Stopped for DUI

If you are subjected to a traffic stop on suspicion of DUI or if you are selected at a DUI checkpoint, you should know your rights, including the right to remain silent; police officers may begin asking you questions before they are legally required to read you your Miranda rights. You should also remember that you are only required under the implied consent law to submit to a breathalyzer, urine sample, or blood sample test, and do not have to perform portable breath tests or field sobriety tests if asked by an officer.

If you are arrested for DUI, you should continue to exercise your right to remain silent and ask to speak with an attorney. In many cases, it may be possible to challenge the evidence supporting your arrest, including the reliability of any field testing, the calibration of lab testing equipment, or the length of time between your arrest and any chemical testing.

Contact an Experienced Woodbridge DWI Defense Attorney About Your Drunk Driving Charges in New Jersey

Have you been charged with a DWI or DUI offense in New Jersey? A drunk driving conviction could leave you with a permanent record, and it could result in your driver’s license being suspended for a very long time. That is why it is imperative that you speak with a qualified DWI defense lawyer about your case. The Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio, LLC  represent clients charged with drunk driving, breath test refusal, and related offenses in Middlesex County, Mercer County, Union County, Ocean County, and throughout New Jersey. Call (732) 334-7486 or fill out our confidential online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office located at 227 Main Street, Woodbridge, NJ 07095, in addition to offices located in Princeton, Freehold, Jersey City, and Mt. Laurel.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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