Breaking News: Federal Class Action Lawsuit Seeks to Throw Out Thousands of New Jersey DWI/DUI Convictions

A recent class action lawsuit that was filed in October is trying to throw out potentially thousands of DWI/DUI convictions in the state of New Jersey, arguing that the State Police failed to properly calibrate the breathalyzer devices used to test suspected drunk drivers. If these allegations are true, it is possible that many breathalyzer test results were inaccurate and could have been used to unfairly convict drivers in the state.

As discussed in the past, if you are pulled over in New Jersey and the officer has reasonable cause to believe that you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the officer may use a breathalyzer test to measure your blood alcohol content (BAC), which can be used as evidence against you if you are later charged for DUI/DWI. The official test used in this state is the Alcotest 7110 MK-IIIC, and there are certain rules that state must follow in order for the test to be valid.

Regulation of Alcotest 7110 and other BAC Tests

In order to be considered legally valid and admissible in evidence, a BAC test must be performed on a Alcotest 7110 MK-IIIC machine, which is the only device that has been approved by the attorney general for legally measuring BAC evidence. Moreover, the person who performs the test must be properly trained and approved by the attorney general, and there are certain rules that must be followed for certifying, maintaining, and inspecting the machine. One of the rules is that the machine must be calibrated in a specific way every six months.

The Federal Lawsuit and What it Says

The new lawsuit, which was filed last month in the New Jersey District Court, argues that some or all of the breathalyzer readings taken of suspected drunk drivers by state police officers cannot be trusted after the state Attorney General’s Office charged Sgt. Marc Dennis with records tampering.

Sgt. Dennis was a coordinator for the New Jersey State Police’s Alcohol Drug Testing Unit, and he was responsible for calibrating breathalyzers and certifying their accuracy. The lawsuits states that Sgt. Dennis falsely certified that he had properly followed all the required steps in calibrating at least three machines used to provide BAC evidence in more than 20,600 cases in Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Somerset and Union counties.

If the lawsuit demonstrates that the machines calibrated by Sgt. Dennis were not properly maintained according to the legally required procedures, it is possible that the BAC readings produced were inaccurate and some of the convictions made based on that evidence will need to be reversed. This would be especially true if a driver were convicted with a reading that was close to the legal limit of .08% BAC.

Challenging a Blood Alcohol Content of .08% or Higher

If you are charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, and you provide a breathalyzer sample of .08% or higher, that BAC reading can be used as evidence in a DUI/DWI case against you.

Because the process is strictly regulated, an experienced attorney may be able to raise several challenges to the BAC results in your defense, including:

  • Improper certification of the Alcotest machine
  • Improper calibration of the Alcotest machine
  • Improper qualification or certification of the officer operating the Alcotest machine
  • Possible contamination of the Alcotest reading
  • Improper collection of breath sample and evidence

Because BAC readings are not always perfect, it is especially important to always consult an experienced DWI/DUI lawyer if you are pulled over and charged with drunk driving. A drunk driving attorney may be able to fight the charges against you or have the charges dismissed completely.

New Jersey DUI/DWI Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Defend You if You Are Charged with Drunk Driving

If you or someone you know is charged for any crime relating to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it is extremely important to contact an experienced DUI/DWI attorney who can explain what rights you have in your specific situation. If you go to court, an experienced lawyer can also make sure you get the best result possible. Having an experienced drunk driving lawyer can make all the difference. To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI/DUI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today. We serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.