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Breathalyzer Errors in New Jersey

On Behalf of | Jul 24, 2012 | DWI

If you have been arrested on a New Jersey DWI charge, it does not mean you are automatically going to be convicted. There are ways to mount a successful defense against a DWI or DUI charge, particularly in regard to the breath alcohol test.

Issues continue with the Alcotest, the standard breath alcohol-testing machine in New Jersey. This machine has taken the place of the breathalyzer in the state. The Alcotest measures the amount of alcohol in your system by having you breathe into the machine.

There are many ways errors can lead to a challenge of the Alcotest results.

Lack of adherence to 20-minute observation period before administering the test. The arresting officer is obliged to observe you for 20 minutes prior to giving the test. Failure to follow this rule can potentially result in a case dismissal.

A breath test machine may not work properly. The machine in question may malfunction or be in need of repair. Challenging the evidence based on this possibility puts the prosecution on the defensive. They must now prove that the machine was indeed functioning accurately.

The Alcotest breath test machine’s protocol for testing was not followed. If the protocol for administering this test is not followed and a reading that is not accurate results, then the breath test may not be considered valid and the charges can be dismissed.

The operator of the breathalyzer test had an expired license. All New Jersey breath test operators must be certified to use the machine. These certification licenses must be renewed every three years. If your tester did not have valid certification, then your test results cannot be included as evidence against you.

The Alcotest test operator did not have a license to operate the testing machine. Your breath test is then inadmissible.

Violation of the two-minute “lock-out” period was recently raised as an issue in the courts. There is a two-minute waiting period that is supposed to occur between the taking of the first and the second breath sample.

A DWI Conviction Is Not a Foregone Conclusion

The sooner you discuss your case with an attorney, the stronger your defense is likely to be. There are technical issues surrounding breath tests, unreliable and overly subjective field sobriety tests and unlawful stops that may contribute to a case being dismissed. An experienced attorney can help you understand if these issues can be used to mount a strong defense in your situation.

Talk to a DWI defense attorney at Mallon and Tranger, in Freehold, New Jersey. We offer a free, private first consultation with a lawyer. Call 732-702-0333 or e-mail our Freehold, New Jersey, office to schedule your meeting today.