Montclair NJ Proof of Intoxication in DWI Cases
With offices in Newark, New Jersey
A lot of people don’t realize that a DWI / DUI charge in New Jersey can result in jail time. Additionally, you could lose your driver’s license for a very long time if you are convicted of a serious DWI offense. However, there is good news: an attorney who knows what they are doing may be able to challenge the prosecution’s proof of intoxication in your case. That’s why you need to take your Driving While Intoxicated charge seriously and contact an experienced lawyer immediately.
The lawyers at the Tormey Law Firm represent clients accused of impaired driving throughout Essex County, including West Orange, Maplewood, and Fairfield. Our DWI defense team includes a certified Alcotest 7110 operator, a certified field sobriety test instructor, and a former New Jersey DWI prosecutor. As a result, we know exactly what to look for in your case when examining the evidence and challenging proof of intoxication.
Contact Us Today
Call the Tormey Law Firm today at 201-654-3464 to discuss your DWI or Refusal charges. You can view examples of our winning defense strategies by viewing the Successful DWI Verdict & Settlements page.
Elements of a DWI Case: Proof of Intoxication
The legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in the State of New Jersey is .08 percent. Anyone caught operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of .08 percent or higher can be arrested and charged with driving under the influence. NJ prosecutors typically rely on breath test readings when attempting to prove that a DWI suspect was intoxicated; however, even when a suspect does not submit to a breath test, the prosecutor can rely on police officer observations to prove intoxication.
1) NJ Breath Test Readings: Alcotest 7110
Proof of intoxication is typically established by a breath test reading. When a driver is pulled over for suspicion of DWI, the police officer may request that the driver submit to a breath test. Although patrol cars carry Portable Breath Tests (PBTs) that can be administered during roadside stops, these tests are not sufficient as proof of intoxication. The only breath test that is admissible as evidence of intoxication is the Alcotest 7110, which is sometimes referred to as a “Breathalyzer.” This test is administered at the police station after police have established reasonable suspicion of a DWI violation.
The Alcotest uses breath samples to determine a driver’s BAC; these samples are often the main evidence used by prosecutors. However, an experienced DWI defense attorney can challenge the breath test results. The DWI attorneys at the Tormey Law Firm are familiar with the Alcotest device and know how to identify mistakes in the calibration of the machine and in the administration of the test. Travis J. Tormey was specifically trained and certified in the operation of the Alcotest 7110 MK111-C Version NJ3.11.
2) NJ Police Office Observations: Field Sobriety Tests
Many people mistakenly believe that if they decline to take a breath test, they can’t be charged with a DWI; but declining the breath test is actually the worst thing you do when pulled over for a DWI because you will almost certainly be charged with both a DWI and Refusal to Submit to a Breath Test. In fact, it is often easier for the prosecution to prove intoxication in these instances because there is no breath test reading for the defense attorney to challenge.
One of the first things that an officer may ask a DWI suspect to do is perform a field sobriety test. There are only two tests that are admissible as proof of intoxication: the One-Leg-Stand test and the Walk-and-Turn test. A third test, the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test (also known as the “pen test”), can only be used as probable cause for a DWI arrest; it is not admissible at trial.
In addition to field sobriety tests, a police officer’s observations of the suspect’s actions and behavior following a DWI traffic stop can also be used in court as proof of intoxication. These observations may include:
- Bloodshot/watery eyes
- Slurred speech
- Deliberate movements
- Odor of alcohol on the driver’s breath
- Admissions of guilt
Challenge the Evidence in Essex County DUI Cases
The Tormey Law Firm has a team of skilled litigators who are prepared to challenge the evidence in your case. We know how to raise constitutional issues with respect to law enforcement procedure and probable cause to initiate a DWI stop. Additionally, we have had great success exposing errors in breath tests, blood and urine tests, and field sobriety tests.
Free Consultation with a Glen Ridge DUI Attorney
The experienced DWI defense attorneys at the Tormey Law Firm understand the nuances of New Jersey DWI laws and can challenge the prosecution’s evidence of intoxication in your case. Call 201-654-3464 to speak with a member of our drunk driving defense team, or email us to schedule a free consultation at our Newark office.