DWI and DUI Results

2013: Municipal Court:  Attorney was retained by local client who had avoided being arrested on a warrant since 1990 when he failed to appear in court.  He was arrested after being stopped for a routine traffic matter.  Bail was posted and he retained the Attorney to represent him on the old matter.  Police reports were still available which showed that the client was stopped by police officer for passing on the right.  When the officer approached the vehicle, the client had gotten out and was leaning on the car.  The officer smelled a strong odor of alcohol.  The client was not given any field sobriety tests, but, was immediately arrested, put in a police car, and read his Miranda Rights. When they arrived at the station, client was given two breath tests. On both attempts client blew a .27%. Client was charged with 39:4-85 Passing on the Right, 39:4-50 Driving Under the Influence, and 39:3-40 Driving While Suspended. If found guilty, this would be clients 4th offense DWI which comes with a 10 year suspension of driving privileges, 180 days in county jail, and a fine of $1,000.

Result:  Attorney investigated the case and found that while the documents were still available, the police officer had retired and moved away.  He obtained a dismissal of all charges with a $1,500 fine for contempt. The client was then able to obtain a New Jersey license after more than 20 years of being suspended.


2013: Municipal Court:  Client lost control of his car and struck a pole causing extensive damage.   He failed psycho-physical testing and was placed under arrest for violation of 39:4-50.    The Alcohol Influence Report (AIR) indicated an Alcotest result of .10% BAC making this an upper tier DWI with a 7 month to one year loss of license.    Client was also charged with 39:4-96  Reckless Driving and 39:4-88B Failure to Maintain Lane.

Result:   The attorney obtained an expert’s report which indicated that upon arrival at the police station, the client was placed in a room to be monitored for the 20 minute observation period, which began at 3:07a.m. The Alcotest was not given until 3:33 a.m., which created a 6 minute gap between the end of the observation period and when the test was given. Under N.J. law the observation must be direct, continuous, and uninterrupted.  Further, the reports did not state whether the officer had changed the mouthpiece on the breathalyzer machine between samples, as required by law.  Attorney was able to have the results of the Alcotest kept out of evidence and the client pled guilty to a lower tier DWI with only a 3 month loss of license and fines.


2013 – Municipal Court:  Client was stopped for driving at night without headlights.  The officer noted a smell of alcohol and administered field sobriety tests.  Client was unable to lift his leg off the ground in the One Leg Stand Test and swayed heavily and tried to just keep walking away from the officer when given the Walk and Turn Test.  Client was arrested and taken to police station where he blew once into the Alcotest with a .16% result, but, refused to give a 2nd breath sample as required for a valid test.  The client had 3 prior DWI convictions which would make this a 4th offense.  Client was charged with 39:4-50, Driving While Intoxicated (4th Offense) (180 days mandatory jail, 10 year loss of license, $1000 fine), 39:4-50.2 Refusal to Submit to a Breath Test (4th Offense as the prior DWI’s enhance a Refusal conviction) (10 year license suspension in addition to the suspension on the DWI, $1000 fine), Reckless Driving (5 points), 39:3-66 Maintenance of Lamps, and 39:3-29b and c Failure to Produce Documents.  The client was facing a 20 year loss of license in addition to the jail time.

Result:  Attorney was able to argue that despite the poor performance on the psycho-physical tests, the State could not prove guilty beyond a reasonable doubt on the DWI charge.  The 4th offense DWI was dismissed and the client did not receive any jail sentence.  A guilty plea was entered to the Refusal and the client was fined $1006 and lost his license for 10 years with an interlock device for 3 years when his license is restored.  All other charges were dismissed.


2013: Municipal Court: Client was stopped for failure to have headlights on after dark.  The officer smelled alcohol on the client and gave the client field sobriety tests which he failed.  The Client was placed under arrest and transported to the police station where he was had two Alcotest readings of .13% BAC, an upper tier DWI violation requiring a license suspension of between 3 months and one year.  The client was charged with 39:4-50 Driving While Intoxicated, 39:4-66 Maintenance of Lamps, and 39:4-97 Careless Driving.

Result:   The attorney obtained an expert’s report which challenged the adherence to the 20 minute observation period required by law.  The Computer Assisted Dispatch Report (CAD) indicated that the client was brought into the station at 2:45 a.m.  The first breath test on the Alcotest was given at 3:03 a.m.  It was clear that the  20 minute observation period was not fully observed by the officer. The breath tests were also given too close together for the machine to properly clear itself of residual alcohol between tests (2 minutes is required).  The Alcotest was therefore not admitted into evidence and the DWI charge was amended to a lower tier, with only a 3 month suspension of driving privileges, 12 hours IDRC, and approximately $640 in court fines and fees.  The Careless Driving and Maintenance of Lamps were dismissed.


2013: Municipal Court: Officer observed client driving in an erratic manner and pulled him over.  The officer smelled a strong odor of alcohol coming from the vehicle. Client was given a series of field sobriety tests, which he performed extremely poorly on.  Client was brought to the police station, where the police report indicated he was properly observed for the 20 minute observation period and the mouthpiece was changed between samples.   The breath test result was .16% BAC and client was charged with an upper tier 39:4-50 Driving While Intoxicated (7 month to 1 year loss of license and mandatory interlock device) and39:4-144 Failure to Stop at a stop sign.

Result:  Attorney obtained an expert opinion that the 2 minute lockout feature of the Alcotest was not enabled properly and the readings should be inadmissible.  The Prosecutor agreed and the charge was amended to a lower tier DWI with a 90 day license suspension and no interlock.  The 39:4-144 was dismissed.

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