Hunterdon County DWI Lawyer Challenging DWI Police Stops and Faulty Tests since 1955
Drunk drivers kill and injure thousands of people each year. It is because of the continuing and growing concern about drinking and driving that there are very strict laws that govern New Jersey drunk drivers. Drivers on County Route 579, New Jersey Route 179, Route 78, and other Hunterdon County roads are at risk for being pulled over and given chemical tests if a police officer has reasonable suspicion that they were driving while intoxicated or committing a traffic offense.
Respected legal counsel for defendants charged with drunk driving
The Hunterdon County criminal lawyers at Aiello, Harris, Marth, Tunnero & Schiffman, P.C. understand how to contest a drunk driving charge and how to negotiate reasonable plea arrangements. Our attorneys are comprised of former prosecutors and law enforcement. Our Hunterdon County DWI lawyers have successfully had chemical tests suppressed. We have often been able to show that the police did not have grounds to stop your car or probable cause to arrest you. We have been fighting for the accused since 1955.
What is a breath test and how does it measure BAC?
When a police officer stops a driver, the officer normally looks at the driver to see if he/she shows signs of intoxication. Next, the officer is likely to give the driver field sobriety tests that assess the driver’s balance.
If the driver still suspects the driver drove while drunk, the officer will request that the driver submit to a breath test to determine the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC). If the driver’s BAC is .08 or more, there is a presumption that the driver drove while intoxicated. If the BAC is .08 or less, the driver may still be charged with DWI. Normally, the officer will have to arrest the driver before requesting the breath test. The breath test is usually given at the police station after at least a 20-minute delay.
Drivers give implied consent to submit to a breath test if they are arrested for DWI. The driver can refuse the breath test, but the refusal will not be allowed in court. Additionally, the driver will faces fines for failing to submit to the test.
Our Hunterdon County DWI lawyers can attack breath tests in different ways:
- The officer must be properly certified to administer the breath test and must perform the test correctly.
- Breathalyzers must be tested for accuracy on a regular basis.
There are many reasons why a test result might not reflect the driver’s BAC at the time he was driving. For example, the driver may have used mouth alcohol, which is not absorbed through the stomach and gives a false reading.
Hand-held tests may be used by the police officer, but these devices are generally not admissible in court. More sophisticated instruments, such as infrared devices, are required to prove BAC in court. Breath test machines must be scientifically reliable. One such machine, which is being considered for usage in New Jersey, is the Alcotest 9510 – even though the reliability of this machine has been severely questioned by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Blood and urine tests are also alternatives to breath tests.
Mandatory fines and penalties include DUI point system
There are many different penalties for a DUI offense. These include:
- Link to NJ’s DWI penalty PDF
- Jail time
- Increased insurance premiums
- A requirement to use an ignition interlock device
- Being forced to attend training at the IDRC – the Intoxicated Drivers’ Resource Center
The penalties are increased for subsequent offenses and if the DUI offense occurred in a school zone.
The actual fines, surcharges, jail times, and penalties for subsequent offenses can be seen here.
There are no DMV points for a DWI/DUI conviction or for refusing to take a breath test. However, the driver’s insurance company will learn of the convictions and will raise the driver’s insurance premiums significantly, and may no longer offer insurance to the driver. Insurance companies do use insurance points to assess insurance premium rates, and DWI/DUI convictions carry nine insurance points.
Learn your rights if arrested for a DWI/DUI in Hunterdon County
DUI/DWI convictions can alter your life. You will likely be required to spend time in prison. The costs can be astronomical. The conviction will remain on your criminal record unless arrangements can be made to expunge them. It will take years before insurance premiums will be affordable again. There are ways the charges can be challenged. To learn your rights and to speak to a strong advocate, please call the Hunterdon County DWI attorneys at Aiello, Harris, Marth, Tunnero & Schiffman, P.C. now for help. You can reach us at (908) 561-5577 or complete our contact form to arrange a free consultation.