13Jan 2021

Burden Of Proof In Breathalyzer Test Refusal

An interesting appeal happened recently in New Jersey, regarding the 
burden of proof needed to enforce a suspect to complete a breathalyzer 
test on suspicion of DUI. A woman had hit the side of a car stopped at a 
stop light. The responding officer notices that her speech was slurred 
and her eyes were glassy. She was unable to complete field sobriety 
tests and refused to take a breathalyzer. She was arrested on suspicion 
of DUI and taken to the station. At the station, she also refused a 
breathalyzer test.

The woman was convicted of two lesser charges of refusal to submit to a 
breathalyzer test and reckless driving. She appealed those convictions 
based upon her contention that the state failed the Burden of Proof test 
to require her to submit to a breathalyzer test. The court upheld her 
convictions on the grounds that, yes, proof beyond a reasonable doubt is 
needed to convict someone of a crime, but, the standard is substantially 
lower to arrest someone. Therefore, the refusal to submit to a test was, 
indeed, grounds for a charge.

If you live in Burlington, Essex, Colchester, Winooski, Williston, 
Shelburne, or anywhere in the state of Vermont, and have been arrested 
or charged with DUI or any crime, call Handy Law for aggressive and 
experienced legal defense.