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4 N.J.A.R. 69

Motor Vehicles, Division of v. Blackmond, James E. Jr
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Citation: 4 N.J.A.R. 69
Decision Date: 1983
Synopsis: The Division of Motor Vehicles alleged that respondent violated N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.2 et seq. by refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test. The administrative law judge found that due to respondent's erratic driving, his automobile was stopped by a patrolman who detected the odor of alcohol on respondent's breath and placed him under arrest for drunk driving. The judge also found that while respondent was in the patrol car at the scene of the initial arrest, he was placed under arrest for the possession of dangerous weapons and given his Miranda warnings. The respondent was subsequently transported to police headquarters where he was read all nine points of the standard breath alcohol determination test form. The judge found that at the time of the 'reading, the respondent refused to take the test and manifested no reason for refusing to do so. The judge determined that the respondent's refusal was not excused by the fact that Miranda warnings were given to him at about the same time he was asked to take the breath test. While noting that the line of cases on the relationship to Miranda warnings and breath test refusals was split, the judge observed that the central point of such cases was whether confusion resulted in the licensee's mind because such warnings were given. The judge found that at the time of respondent's arrest, he had expressed no confusion or questions concerning his rights and only at the time of the hearing did the respondent testify to any confusion. Thus, the fact that a Miranda warning was given did not excuse the respondent's refusal. Accordingly, having concluded that the patrolman had reasonable grounds to believe the respondent had driven a motor vehicle while intoxicated, had placed the respondent under arrest and that the respondent had refused the breath test, the administrative law judge ordered that the respondent's license be suspended for 90 days.