When do New Jersey authorities use breathalyzer tests?

New Jersey drivers might be familiar with the concept of a breathalyzer test. But many might not know how the test works or when it’s used.
Usually, a breathalyzer test is ordered when a cop pulls someone over for suspected drunk driving. But it’s just one type of sobriety test available to New Jersey officers.

WHAT IS A BREATHALYZER TEST?

After someone drinks alcohol, it’s usually absorbed by the stomach, small intestine, and lungs – among other organs. Because of this, alcohol will usually be present on someone’s breath for a time afterward. The breathalyzer looks like a walkie-talkie or cell phone. The driver blows into the mouthpiece and the breathalyzer will measure the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels. Authorities might have a driver complete the breathalyzer test multiple times. Usually, a BAC level of 0.08 percent or over will grant the driver a Driving Under the Influence charge (DUI Charge).

WHEN ARE BREATHALYZERS USED?

Sometimes a breathalyzer is used whenever the cop suspects the driver of drunk driving. Sometimes this can be triggered by an accident or the cop witnessing erratic driving, such as swerving or driving at inconsistent speeds. Passengers might also be asked to take a breathalyzer test, depending on their age and the circumstances around the driver. For example, if the passenger is under the age of 21 or the driver previously was charged with a DUI, the passenger’s breathalyzer test may help the cop make a judgment call.

CAN YOU REFUSE A BREATHALYZER TEST?

There can be dire consequences for refusing a breathalyzer test, including immediate suspension of license. Sometimes it can also be considered cause for arrest or admission of guilt. Even if you aren’t driving drunk, refusing the breathalyzer will result in its own punishments. And the punishment, if you are driving drunk, will be far worse than if you had just taken the breathalyzer.

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