Breathalyzers are devices that are designed to take a breath sample from a driver and determine if the driver had consumed any alcohol. The device then takes this information and provides a blood-alcohol content percentage (BAC). Any BAC over 0.08 is over the legal limit in New Jersey and could result in driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges.
In theory, these devices sound like a great way to help keep the roads in New Jersey safe from drunk drivers. But what happens if the device is wrong? What happens if it says someone was drunk when they were not? That is the question currently being asked in New Jersey courts.
What case is questioning the reliability of breathalyzers in New Jersey?
A recent article by New Jersey News Radio discusses the case. It involves a woman who was pulled over for a broken light. During the stop, the officer conducted a field sobriety test, which she failed. She was arrested and a Breathalyzer test was conducted at the station. Her conviction, at least in part, was due to the results from this Breathalyzer test.
It has since come to light that the Breathalyzers used to gather evidence to support this conviction may have been faulty. Charges were issued by the state Attorney General's Office that accuses Sgt. Marc Dennis with failing to properly calibrate Breathalyzer instruments and records tampering.
Based on this information, the woman above became part of a federal class action suit that aims to throw out her own, along with thousands of similar, DWI cases that may have been impacted by the alleged actions of Sgt. Dennis.
At least three Breathalyzers were improperly calibrated, potentially impacting 20,600 cases. As a result, the case above is just one of many.
What does this mean for DWI cases in New Jersey?
This case provides an example of the complex nature of DWI cases. A DWI defense involves a review of all aspects of the charges, from the initial stop to the conviction and potential appeal.
As a result, those facing these or similar charges are wise to seek the counsel of an experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer. This legal professional will advocate for your rights, working to better ensure a more favorable outcome.