Burlington County, NJ Law Blog

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Disputing Breath Test Results in DUI Cases

A DUI or DWI arrest and criminal charge based on a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) tests doesn't necessarily mean the defendant is helpless and unable to change the course of their case. Results from BAC tests taken during a DUI arrest aren't always legally untouchable in New Jersey, meaning there may be some leeway in which a defendant and their attorney can dispute the accuracy of the results by questioning the condition of testing devices and a variety of other possible issues.

The results of the Breathalyzer test are only admissible in New Jersey court if the following can be proven by the prosecution:

  • The breathalyzer was in proper working order at the time the breath sample was taken,
  • the person who operated the machine holds all proper certifications to do so, and
  • the proper procedure was followed during the sample collection.

The working condition of the Breathalyzer, its operator, and the process followed all come into play when it comes to the admissibility of the results in NJ court. An experienced DUI defense attorney may have a chance to knock the breath test results out of the case by invalidating them, which is done by proving one of the following errors or mistakes:

  • Lack of Breathalyzer calibration - routine tests by New Jersey State Police ensure that the machine is in good working order, but due to the time-consuming process, calibrations can often be pushed back.
  • BAC readings not within tolerance - readings fall outside the range of acceptable tolerance, rendering the test results inadmissible in proving intoxication.
  • Failure to produce foundational documents or other discovery.

While there are numerous other grounds on which a DUI attorney can prove the results of the defendant's breath test invalid, these are some of the more common reasons. It's important to note that the above issues aren't automatically revealed, the defense attorney usually has to file a motion to force the prosecution to provide all of the relevant records. This is why working with an attorney who has a wealth of DUI defense experience as well as a comprehensive knowledge of New Jersey DUI proceedings, like the attorneys of Sitzler & Sitzler, is so important. To discuss possible legal defenses following a drunk driving charge in Burlington County, NJ contact the DUI defense attorneys of Sitzler & Sitzler at 609-267-1101.

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