Attacking DWI Charges In New Jersey

By James

Many people are not sure if DWI charges can be defended against or not. They often ask the question can I fight a DWI. The only solution is to act quickly. Time is of critical importance in fighting DWI charges and it is imperative that time is not wasted in contacting a DWI attorney to facilitate and guide you in taking the required steps to avoid a conviction. There are many avenues that can be taken to defend against DWI charges in New Jersey. Some of the common defense strategies are:

Attacking Field Sobriety Tests And / Or Breath Or Blood Tests

The so called standardized field sobriety tests are not considered as reliable evidence in a DUI case to get a conviction. The one leg stand has been found to be only accurate 65% of the time for healthy people in predicting that an individual’s blood alcohol content is over the limit of 0.08%. The walk and turn test has been found to be accurate only 68% of the time.

Sobriety tests that are not standardized such as reciting the alphabet or counting backwards and touching your finger to your nose are completely invalid but police may still testify using these tests as evidence of intoxication. The federal government as well as medical science professionals do not recognize these tests as valid proof of intoxication. An experienced DWI attorney can combat any attempts to use these tests as evidence of intoxication and get them excluded.

A person’s performance in the field sobriety tests can be affected by medical or health related issues. These should be taken into consideration when evaluating sobriety tests. Some medical conditions may also affect breath test results. Additionally factors such as strong winds or slippery ground can affect driving or balance of the driver in the field sobriety tests. Weather conditions can be used in your defense against DWI charges.

Blood tests are generally challenged on the grounds that procedural protocol was not followed in conducting them. Even if the police have taken you to a medical center to get the tests done, the procedure still may have been done improperly. Blood tests sometimes provide inaccurate results if the medical technician uses a lactate ringer or a swab. Even if the swab is supposed to be non-alcoholic, there is still a trace amount of alcohol in it.

Attacking The Validity Of The DWI Stop

In the state of New Jersey, law enforcement must have probable cause to pull you over. Seeing someone come out of a bar and drive away is not considered a valid reason to pull the driver over. If police does not have probable cause to pull you over, then the case can be thrown out if the violation of a driver’s rights are effectively argued in court by a DWI attorney. It is possible that you may have been pulled over for driving that is not illegal. For example, weaving in your own lane is not illegal. If you did not cross any lines wavering in your own lane cannot be deemed as probable cause to pull you over.

Attacking The Actions Or Motives Of Law Enforcement

Videos or dispatch tapes recording everything that takes place when someone is pulled over show if the police officer is exaggerating during their testimony. Police officers can claim that the driver was hostile and non-compliant or that the driver failed the field sobriety tests when in actuality, that may not be the case. Video cameras in the vehicles of law enforcement officers usually record what happens and provide good evidence against the DWI charges. A defendant cannot be forced to provide blood or urine samples. If either is taken against your will or you are falsely led to believe it is mandatory then the blood test results can be excluded in court.  If you object to the tests and the police officer convinces you to take it or holds you down forcefully while their partner draws your blood you may have a stronger defense against the DWI charges.

The statements on record provided by police officers can be used to argue against the credibility of their testimony. If an officer has been involved in a DUI case in the past testimony from that case regarding the reliability of tests or conducting them can be compared to their testimony in the current DWI case so as to show the extent of discrepancies in their knowledge of administering the tests. If an officer misleads the defendant regarding their right to decline a blood test the test results may be excluded.

Attacking The Qualifications And Conduct Of Person Conducting Breath Or Blood Tests

The person conducting the breath test may have an expired license or be unlicensed altogether.  It is also possible that the breathalyzer equipment may have malfunctioned or it may not have been operated properly. If the prosecutor fails to show that all procedures were duly followed and the machines were functioning correctly the test results may be excluded. The neglect by an officer in conducting a proper observation period weakens the prosecutor’s case against you. If the officer does not keep you under observation for a 20 min period prior to conducting a breath test, the results of this test can be excluded. 

If the officer conducting the breath test fails to read the New Jersey Implied Consent Warning prior to conducting the test it results in this evidence being excluded in court. Sometimes police officers offer cough drops to you before you take the breath test. The Alco-test 7110 MK111-C breath testing machine used in New Jersey can have errors which then produce incorrect results that are unsuitable to be used as evidence in the court. The machine may have improper settings and the officer responsible for maintaining it may have failed to recognize errors in testing such as improper timing. Expert witnesses may be brought in to validate the functionality of the breath test equipment as well as the accuracy of the blood and the field sobriety tests. It is necessary to involve these experts to challenge the validity of the tests in almost all DWI cases.

The State of New Jersey has to provide you with a speedy trial. DWI cases must be resolved within 60 days of the day of arrest. If this does not happen your case may be dropped. If you are facing DWI charges in New Jersey then contact a New Jersey DWI Attorney today.