A Basic Overview of Possible DWI Defenses in New Jersey

Being arrested for or being charged with a DWI should not be taken lightly. A DWI conviction can have far-reaching consequences for virtually every aspect of your life. If you have been charged with a DWI, you need to reach out to a skilled New Jersey DWI attorney to discuss the circumstances surrounding your arrest. We can scrutinize the facts of your case and determine whether any defenses may be appropriate.

A DWI charge does not mean you are automatically guilty. Instead, you are innocent until proven guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt” by the State. However, New Jersey law states that a 0.08 percent blood alcohol content (BAC) level alone is sufficient for a DWI conviction. Thus, if your BAC was measured at 0.08 or higher, your defense will typically focus on the reliability and validity of the reading. For example, you may concentrate on whether the breathalyzer was used properly by the officer and whether the machine was working properly. If it is found that the machine was not used correctly or not working correctly, the result may be excluded from evidence.

The prosecution can also use other types of evidence to prove intoxication, such as observational evidence and field sobriety tests. Observational evidence is the evidence that police gather from observing your behavior, including your speech (i.e., slurred or unclear), appearance (i.e., bloodshot eyes, flushed face, watery eyes, etc.), demeanor (i.e., boisterous, aggressive, unsteady, etc.), and the results of your field sobriety tests. A field sobriety test generally consists of three parts:  the horizontal gaze nystagmus, the walk and turn, and the one-leg stand. Police officers will usually testify regarding their observations of your behavior. While a police officer’s observations may be entirely accurate, there may be legitimate reasons for a behavior. For example, slurred speech may be a result of a medical condition as opposed to intoxication.

Another possible defense could consist of rebutting the proof of “operation.” To get a conviction of driving while intoxicated, the prosecution must establish both that the defendant was intoxicated and that the defendant was driving or “operating” a motor vehicle. If you were arrested for a DWI after getting to your car but prior to driving, you may be able to demonstrate that you had no intent of driving or operating the vehicle while inebriated. For example, you may have been sitting in your car to sober up or to take a phone call.

When a defendant asserts a defense, he or she must prove it by a preponderance of the evidence. This standard requires establishing that the defendant’s version of events is more likely true than not.

If you are facing DWI charges in New Jersey, it is important to know that you have rights. With the right DWI lawyer on your side, you may be able to successfully challenge the evidence against you. You can rest assured that we understand the nuances of this complex area of law. We are here to answer your questions and address your concerns throughout the entire legal process. For more information, do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at 877-450.8301.

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