On appeal, the State raised three arguments. First, it contended that the proposed amendment was solely to correct a “technical defect” in the complaint. The appeals court concluded that a failure to cite the correct substantive offense was not a “technical defect” subject to amendment.
Second, the State argued that the amendment should have been permitted because “a CDL refusal is the same substantive offense or a lesser included offense of a general refusal.” The appeals court concluded that CDL refusal was not a lesser included offense of general refusal, because the two offenses require proof of different facts.
Finally, the State asserted that it can prosecute defendant for violating the general refusal statute, which was cited in the complaint. The appeals court concluded that this driver could not be charged with a general refusal because he was arrested for CDL DUI (0.04% and above) but was never arrested for a general DUI (i.e. 0.08% or above):
"It therefore makes logical sense that an arrest for the predicate offense is an element of the corresponding refusal offense, because the purpose of the breath test is to obtain “scientific evidence” to prove the offense for which the person was arrested. Marquez, supra, 202 N.J. at 497. Of course, the Legislature conceivably could have structured the general and CDL refusal laws differently, to permit prosecution for general refusal based on an arrest for CDL DUI, but that is not how the laws were written. Further, even if we deemed the refusal statutes to be ambiguous, because they are quasi-criminal we would be constrained to construe them narrowly, in favor of the defendant."
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