Breath Testing for a DWI in New Jersey
When you’ve been arrested for drunk driving in New Jersey, it’s likely that you will be asked to submit a breath sample in order to test for your blood alcohol content.
In most states, including New Jersey, you are required to submit the breath sample under the implied consent laws. As a driver in New Jersey, you have implicitly agreed to provide a breath sample if arrested for DWI.
Here’s the good news: failing a breath test is not the same thing as being convicted of a DUI or DWI. There are many ways to contest the results. Consequently, the breath results may not be admissible in court as evidence against you, making it very difficult for the prosecution to prove its case.
Why is this the case?
Breath testing for a DWI or DUI is based on scientifically proven results, but there is still a lot of room for human error. After all, a person is needed to operate the machine and that person may not be following procedures.
For a New Jersey DWI charge, there is one primary breath test machine that is used (replacing the Breathalyzer, which was previously used):
- Alcotest 7110 MKIII-c
It doesn’t matter which machine was used for your breath tests. In any case, the burden is on the prosecution to meet specific requirements in order for the results of your breath testing to be used in court against you.
Legal Standards for the Admission of Breath Test Results in a DWI Case
- Documentation must show that the breath testing device has been maintained correctly and is working properly.
- The person who used the machine for your breath tests must have received proper training and be certified.
- You must have been observed prior to the tests for a specified period of time.
- The operator must use the machine correctly.
What Happens When the Standards Are Not Met for a DUI Case?
It happens frequently that an error was made somewhere in the process. If that was the case, then the prosecution has failed to meet the legal standards for admitting the results. This can mean that the results are thrown out and cannot be used against you in the case.
Sometimes this will result in having the case thrown out entirely, since it’s not easy to prove the case without this evidence.
The best way to protect yourself against errors made in your breath test is to hire an experienced DWI or DUI lawyer. This lawyer can investigate your situation and uncover any omissions or mistakes that were made by police officers throughout the process or by the prosecution when making the case against you.
This can make the difference between being convicted of a DUI and facing stiff penalties that often last for years, or having the case dismissed and protecting your driver’s license and freedom.