If you or a loved one in New Jersey is facing DUI charges after taking a breath test, you might assume that this will be considered irrefutable evidence by the legal system and that you cannot challenge it. In fact, there are several grounds on which such a test can be challenged in certain circumstances.
First, a breath test might not be accurate for any number of reasons. The officer might not have been properly trained in administering the test. The device might not have been calibrated properly, and the officer may need to provide evidence that the calibration was correct. Some devices are simply inaccurate. In 2013, an Ohio judge found that all devices manufactured by a particular brand did not return reliable results.
The other way that a charge could be challenged is by looking at the rights of the individual detained for driving under the influence and whether those rights were violated. For example, there might be a question of whether the officer had cause to pull the person over in the first place. New Jersey has an implied consent law, meaning that you are supposed to submit to a breath test if an officer asks you to, but the officer should explain this to you at the time. The consequences of refusing the test can be serious.
If the case goes to trial and the officer who performed the test is there, the person charged or their defense attorney can cross-examine that officer. If the only officer present is the one who did not perform the test, that officer can be challenged as well.
There are a number of other defenses that may be available to people facing DUI charges. While some may assume that it is easiest to pay a fine and move on, a DUI can actually have serious consequences that they should be aware of. In addition to legal penalties, which could include jail time or license suspension, a DUI can affect some people’s careers. Therefore, it can be important to fully understand all the defense options.