When New Jersey Assemblyman Paul Moriarty turned into a Gloucester County restaurant to grab lunch, he was shocked to see the flashing lights of the police cruiser that had followed him for several miles. Moriarty hadn’t been speeding or committing any other moving violation and couldn’t identify any reason the officer might be approaching his car. The true reason for the stop remained a mystery, even after he was confronted by a Washington Township police officer who falsely accused Morality of cutting him off before launching into a bizarre accusation that he was driving under the influence.
Moriarty remained equally puzzled when he was handcuffed and taken to the station for a breath test, despite having passed a field sobriety test with absolutely no problems. As suspicion filled the assemblyman’s mind, he decided he had cooperated enough and refused to take a Breathalyzer test, the results of which he feared could be falsified. At this point, Moriarty received a summons for drunk driving and failure to take the test, despite law enforcement’s lack of even a shred of evidence that Moriarty had consumed a single drop of alcohol that day.
What happens if I refuse a breath test during a DUI stop?
Thanks to the camera in the police vehicle, the officer’s plot to railroad Moriarty was uncovered; a plot that was apparently retaliation for a conflict that arose when Moriarty served as township mayor and didn’t see eye to eye with the police union. The officer’s blatant disregard of Moriarty’s rights during the stop and arrest exposes a system in which drivers may be forced to provide evidence against themselves by submitting to breath tests, since a refusal results in the same loss of driving privileges as if the DUI offense were proven.
Under New Jersey law, drivers who refuse breath tests can be charged with:
- Refusal to submit to a breath test, which all drivers in New Jersey implicitly consent to when they apply for driving privileges
- An actual driving under the influence offense, since Breathalyzer test results are not mandatory for DUI convictions
If you have been charged with DUI or refusing to submit to a Breathalyzer, the veteran attorneys at Hoffman DiMuzio can help you go up against aggressive prosecution.