Breath Test Refusal Clarified by NJ Supreme Court

The Supreme Court’s recent decision in State v. Spell appears to have created bad law for the defense.  The issue in Spell was whether or not a police officer had to read the second paragraph of the refusal form in all instances.  The Appellate Division concluded that this was always a requirement even when an accused unequivocally refuses to provide a breath test.  The Supreme Court disagreed, concluding that the second and final warning need not be read where an accused  “either conditionally consents or ambiguously declines to provide a breath sample.”

I candidly see little logic to this ruling.  Why the Court sees no need to impose the minimum requirement of taking a minute to read a final warning is beyond me.  It certainly seems that this is only reasonable given the mandatory penalties associated with a refusal. 

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