When the police suspect that a driver is under the influence of alcohol, they have a variety of ways to gather evidence, ranging from simple observation to the chemical testing of the driver’s blood, breath, or urine. One of the tests commonly performed during a traffic stop is a breath test, which in New Jersey is accomplished by using an “Alcotest” device.
According to a report published at NJ.com, more than 20,000 DUI cases throughout Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Somerset and Union counties could be affected due to one police officer’s misconduct. According to reports, Sgt. Marc Dennis, who is a coordinator in the State Police Drug Testing Unit, allegedly lied on official documents regarding recalibrating Alcotest devices, a step required by New Jersey law. These serious allegations have the potential to call into question the accuracy of any test performed with a device handled by Sgt. Dennis over the course of his career.
The New Jersey Supreme Court has appointed retired appellate judge Joseph Lisa as Special Master in order to determine whether the Sergeant’s failure to complete the legally required calibration would cast doubt on the scientific reliability of the test performed on the affected devices. Those charged with or convicted of a DUI in those 5 counties from 2008 through 2016 were issued a letter from the county prosecutor if relief may be available to them. If you have receive such a letter or think that your case may have been affected by this investigation you should have an attorney review your case.
New Jersey DUI Defenses
Introducing evidence that calls the results of an Alcotest device into question is just one way that an attorney may be able to defend against allegations of DUI. Some other common DUI defenses include the following:
- The signs of intoxication observed by the arresting officer were actually the result of a medical condition such as allergies or an existing traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- The Alcotest results were inaccurately high due to excess mouth alcohol caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease
- The initial traffic stop was unconstitutional, making any evidence gathered during the stop inadmissible in court
Even when there are no defenses available, the assistance of an attorney can often help negotiate a plea bargain that results in a much better outcome than you would obtain if you simply plead guilty to the charges against you. For this reason, if you have been arrested for drunk driving in New Jersey, you should contact an attorney as soon as you can.
Call 732-238-8686 today for more information.
A New Jersey DUI conviction can wreak havoc on your life, both personally and professionally. Fortunately, there are often legal defenses available – and if the police made a mistake during your traffic stop or arrest, it may be possible to have the case completely thrown out. To discuss your case with a New Jersey DUI defense attorney, call David C. Barry, Attorney at Law today or send us an email through our online contact form.