While fighting a DWI arrest is a fairly common practice, fighting a drunken driving charge after “blowing” a double-zero on an Alcotest device is somewhat out of the ordinary. As a New Jersey DWI defense attorney, I and my colleagues are certified in the proper use, operation and maintenance of the Alcotest breath testing machine typically in use by most all of New Jersey’s police departments and state DWI enforcement agencies.
According to a recent news article, a Garfield, NJ, man was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol even after he registered a 0.0 percent blood-alcohol content on not one, but two supposedly well-maintained and correctly calibrated Alcotest devices. Regardless, Fair Lawn police charged 20-year-old Dariusz Palka with DWI anyway.
Based on police reports, Palka was pulled over around 2am at a DWI sobriety checkpoint on Broadway and 17th Street while traveling in the city with a number of buddies back on December 19. The friends were reportedly looking for a place to eat as the reason for their late night drive.
Based on police reports, the officers at the checkpoint allegedly detected the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the vehicle, after which Palka was asked to step out of the vehicle and take a field sobriety test. According to police, the driver failed several of these sobriety tests and was subsequently placed under arrest.
Reports indicate that officers also discovered an allegedly fraudulent inspection sticker on Palka’s Ford Explorer and removed the item as evidence.
Police took the man back to police headquarters where he submitted to a breath test on two separate Alcotest machines about an hour following the initial stop at the checkpoint. According to reports, neither the Bergen County Police Department nor the New Jersey State Police had a drug recognition expert available so Palka was not evaluated for possible drug usage.
Although the man observed that he likely failed the field sobriety tests because he suffers from insomnia and had not slept in about 24 hours, police decided to charge Palka with “operation of a motor vehicle by a person whose blood alcohol is between 0.01 percent and 0.10 percent and is under the legal age to purchase alcoholic beverages. The man entered a not guilty plea and was prepared to go before the Fair Lawn Municipal Court in regard to this charge.
Man charged with DWI with 0 blood alcohol level content, NorthJersey.com, February 11, 2010