Drunk Driving Survey Invites Comparison to Implied Consent Law

Refusing an officer’s request for a breath test can be equally prejudicial. Under New Jersey’s implied consent law, a driver who refuses a breath test and is detained might find that he or she must now submit to a blood sample. According to the state Department of Motor Vehicles website, that refusal also comes with penalties, which may include license suspension.

Given that implied consent law, a driver who is flagged over by a uniformed official and questioned about his or her drinking and driving habits may justly feel intimidated. Apparently, lawmakers also share this concern. Specifically, the House transportation committee is reexamining the implementation of the National Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drugged Driving in the approximately 60 cities across the country.

The survey is not new: it launched in 1973 and has been conducted five times since. However, the advent of implied consent laws and roadside breath tests may have changed the landscape, especially from the perspective of a DUI defense lawyer.

Readers of this criminal law blog may know that the consequences for an arrest for driving under the influence can be severe. In fact, even if a driver’s blood alcohol is below the legal limit and cannot be used as a basis for a DUI charge, a officer that observed erratic driving and claimed to have probable cause for a traffic stop may cite other criminal charges. An attorney knows that an arrest report’s description of how a driver responded to field sobriety test can be very prejudicial to a jury.

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