New Jersey DWI: Defenses in an Alcotest® Case

Because I was involved in State v. Chun, the case that has defined DWI defense and prosecution throughout the state of New Jersey, I have been fortunate to learn a great deal about the new breath testing machine in New Jersey, the Alcotest® 7110 MKIII-C. I have had the pleasure of passing on some of that knowledge to other attorneys by speaking at local and national seminars on the technical and scientific defenses related to the Alcotest®.

This video is from a New Jersey statewide presentation on Alcotest® defenses. I have given other presentations to attorneys at national speaking engagements in New Orleans, Dallas, Las Vegas, and in Wisconsin and Connecticut.

This machine, the Alcotest®, requires more knowledge and ingenuity to defend against, compared to its predecessor, the Breathalyzer® 900 and 900A. There are many more technicalities associated with the Alcotest® than the Breathalyzer®. For instance, the documentation attached to the testing process is at least three to four times greater than the paper work from the older testing.

Most significantly, the Alcotest® allows for information to be produced from its database to establish whether the machine is operating as it should be, or as it is expected to operate. State v. Chun was a three year long scientific reliability challenge to the Alcotest®. From Chun, we now have many areas to challenge — not the reliability of the machine, but — whether the machine is operating properly. The electronic information that can be mined from the machine’s database is invaluable in assessing the operability of the the Alcotest® as it relates to the particular machine used in the motorist’s testing.

Many attorneys were very nervous after Chun came out, believing that the results from the Alcotest® are indefensible. Nothing could be further from the truth. Of course, each case must be assessed on its own facts and circumstances, but the Alcotest® results can and must be challenged in every case where the defendant wants to do so. Even where the Alcotest® reports a breath test reading over 0.08%, if there are errors that can be established in the machine’s process or in the overall testing protocol, the breath testing results should be suppressed or excluded from evidence.

It is therefore critical to have qualified a New Jersey DWI lawyer assess the defenses available relative to the Alcotest® issues, as well as the physical case that is alleged against the driver. A New Jersey DWI can be successfully defended and dismissed under the appropriate circumstances.

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