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What should you know about the proposed changes to implied consent?

If they suspect them of drinking alcohol or using drugs before getting behind the wheel, law enforcement may stop motorists. Among other tactics they commonly use, the authorities may ask drivers to submit to chemical testing to determine their blood alcohol concentration levels. The state has in place an implied consent law, which requires drivers to provide breath samples for such testing. Recently, legislators put forth a bill to expand the current law.

Should the bill pass, it would give law enforcement greater authority with regard to chemical testing for motorists stopped on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. Therefore, it benefits you to understand what the proposed changes entail.

Extending testing authority

According to the New Jersey Office of Legislative Services, the current implied consent law stipulates that drivers agree to breath testing for the purposes of determining their blood alcohol concentration levels if arrested for alleged drunk driving. The proposed bill would extend the chemical testing requirement to include blood testing.

Facing penalties for refusal

If motorists refuse blood testing under the bill, they face the same penalties as those who refuse breath testing. According to the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, the penalties for refusing a breath test include the following:

  • A fine of up to $1,500, depending on prior record
  • Participation in drug or alcohol education and treatment through an intoxicated driver resource center
  • A driver’s license suspension of up to two years
  • Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device

The proposed bill aims to reduce the occurrence of people driving under the influence of drugs. Due to the potential invasiveness of such testing, however, drivers should have a firm understanding of their rights and obligations. Therefore, those arrested for suspected driving while intoxicated may benefit from discussing their arrests and any testing requests with a legal representative.

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