New Jersey DWI Guilty Verdicts Can Hinge on Strong Proof of Intoxication, Among Other Facts

As Garden State DWI defense lawyers, my colleagues and I know that it is truly a mistake to assume that the prosecution always has a strong case against every driver accused of DWI or drug DUI. If everyone assumed that the state’s case against a defendant was iron-clad, nobody would probably ever challenge the charges against them. But this is not a perfect world, and neither the police nor the prosecuting attorneys across New Jersey are always right. Mistakes are often made and the facts are sometimes used incorrectly or are not germane to the specific case.

At any rate, with free consultations available from most reputable and qualified drunk driving defense attorneys, there is no good reason not to spend a little time to describe your situation and find out what your rights are under this state’s DWI statutes. Here at the law officers of Jonathan F. Marshall we specialize in fighting for the rights of those motorists who have been accused of drunken driving, drug-related DUI, impaired operation of a motor vehicle, breath test refusal, and other alcohol and prescription drug-related offenses.

While many people can be excused for thinking that the word of a police officer is indisputable, as experienced DWI lawyers and skilled trial attorneys we know that this is hardly the case. As we have said before, this is not a perfect world and even patrolmen and state troopers can make mistakes when arresting and charging a driver with driving under the influence. Whether the arrest occurs in Monmouth County, Bergen or Ocean County, or Middlesex County, the question should always be: “Can the state prove you were driving while intoxicated?”

Based on New Jersey’s drunk driving laws, if a motorist is found to have been operating a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) measurement of 0.08 percent or more, that individual can be found guilty of driving while intoxicated. This applies specifically to alcohol-related driving offenses; in the case of a drug-related driving offense, there are other ways in which the state can show that a driver was legally impaired while driving on a public roadway.

Defending against a claim of intoxication takes preparation and experience. Under certain circumstances, it has been found that even the police department’s breath test results can be seriously inaccurate. The same goes for blood tests that are used for those drivers accused of drug DUI. Procedural errors and other administrative mistakes can also result in a not-guilty verdict for certain motorists. For instance, it is not uncommon for the patrolman who carries out the breathalyzer test to lack the necessary training and qualifications.

Should an attorney be able to show that the BAC results — held as proof of legal intoxication by the prosecution — are invalid for any number of reasons, the presiding judge may decide to dismiss the drunken driving charges without a further thought. Even the evidence provided by the officer in charge, such as statements that the driver “appeared to be inebriated,” or that the individual “staggered as if he was drunk” can often be challenged by an experienced legal professional.

And, while the prosecution may argue that a defendant was impaired by drugs or alcohol on the basis of eyewitness statements, as well as statements the defendant made at the time of arrest, depending on the facts of the case those items of observational evidence can sometimes be successfully challenged in court. This can apply to the results of the commonly-used field sobriety tests that are typically administered to motorists suspected of being drunk. It is a well-known fact that the accuracy of these field sobriety tests range in the area of 65 to 75 percent, which is rarely strong enough on its own to result in a DWI conviction.

The fear that the state has solid evidence of intoxication can make some people throw up their hands and enter a guilty verdict without ever trying to fight the charges. Of course, every drunken driving case is unique, and we know of many variations on the defense of individuals accused of DWI and drug DUI. The real truth is that if one doesn’t attempt to fight impaired driving charges, there is usually a good chance that he or she will be found guilty of DWI or DUI.

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