In most instances in New Jersey, when a person is charged with DWI, the State will base the charges on the results of a chemical test showing the person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). A BAC is not required to charge a person with DWI or to obtain a conviction, however, and if a DWI suspect refuses to submit to chemical testing, he or she may face additional charges, as demonstrated in a recent New Jersey DWI case. If you are charged with refusal to submit to a chemical test or any other DWI related offense, it is critical to speak to a skillful New Jersey DWI defense attorney regarding what measures you may be able to take to protect your interests.
Facts of the Case
Allegedly, the defendant was stopped by a police officer for repeatedly failing to maintain his lane on the roadway by driving onto the shoulder and into the opposing lane. After the police officer stopped the defendant, he noticed the defendant had bloodshot and watery eyes, sluggish movement, and smelled of alcohol. The defendant submitted to field sobriety tests, which he completed poorly. The officer attempted to administer a breath test, but the defendant refused to produce adequate air to produce a valid reading. The defendant was charged with operating a vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor and refusal to submit to a chemical test. Following a trial, he was convicted on both charges. He then appealed his convictions.
Sufficiency of Evidence of DWI
On appeal, the appellate court upheld the defendant’s DWI conviction. In other words, the court noted that the totality of the evidence introduced by the State was sufficient to support the ruling that the defendant was driving while under the influence of alcohol. Specifically, the appellate court stated that the State produced evidence that the defendant was suffering from a significant deterioration of his physical and mental capabilities which greatly affected his judgment as to make it improper for him to operate a vehicle on the road. The appellate court explained that the trial court was not required to accept the defendant’s reasoning as to why his eyes were bloodshot, stating the evidence was consistent with guilt. Continue reading