Under New Jersey law, there are defined procedures the police must adhere to when administering a breath test to a DWI defendant to determine the defendant’s blood-alcohol level. If the police deviate from the procedures set forth under the law, the results of the test may be invalid. In a recent case, the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, elaborated on the requirements regarding continuous observation prior to a breath test, and ultimately denied the defendant’s appeal of his DWI conviction. If you live in New Jersey and are charged with a DWI offense, it is critical to retain a skillful New Jersey DWI defense attorney who will fight vigorously on your behalf.
Facts Regarding the Defendant’s Arrest and Breath Test
It is alleged that a police officer approached the defendant’s car, which was parked on the side of the road, after which the officer observed that the defendant smelled like alcohol and had bloodshot eyes and slurred speech. The defendant admitted to consuming several beers at a nearby bar. The officer did not perform a field sobriety test but charged the defendant with DWI. The defendant was transported to a police station where he was placed in a holding cell. The officer sat outside the cell a few feet away to make sure the defendant did not eat or drink anything that could alter the results of a breath test.
Reportedly, approximately twenty minutes later, a second officer administered Alcotest, a breath test, which revealed the defendant’s blood-alcohol level to be 0.22%. The defendant was convicted of DWI, which was his third DWI offense, and sentenced to 180 days imprisonment and a ten-year license suspension. The defendant appealed, arguing, inter alia, that the arresting officer did not observe the defendant for twenty minutes prior to administering Alcotest as required by law. Continue reading