Our Middlesex County DWI Lawyer Understands How to Contest Breath Tests
Aggressive arguments if you’ve been charged with drunk driving
The amount of blood alcohol content (BAC) in a driver’s system is used to determine what criminal charges should be brought. A driver whose BAC is .08 or more will be charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). The penalties increase if the BAC is .10 or more, and increase even further if the BAC was .15 or more. A drunk driving conviction means jail time, huge fines, suspension of driving privileges, and increased insurance rates when you are allowed to drive again.
The Middlesex County criminal attorneys at Aiello, Harris, Marth, Tunnero & Schiffman, P.C., understand how to challenge the tests that determine your BAC. We can also advise you what is likely to happen if you refuse a breath test. We have been fighting for those accused of crimes since 1955. We leave no stone unturned to help you win an acquittal. We examine each minute component of the breath machine, who gave the test, and how the test was administered. Breath tests are often thrown out because they weren’t reliable.
What is the Alcotest 9510?
In New Jersey, the police use a machine called the Dräger Alcotest® 7110 to test a driver they think may have a blood alcohol level of .08 or more. The machine generally uses two tests to determine the amount of ethanol alcohol in someone’s body. The first test is an infrared light test that the officer uses to determine how much infrared light is transmitted from a source to a detector without alcohol. In the second test, the driver breathes into the machine. Because alcohol absorbs infrared frequencies, the amount of infrared light changes. The amount of the change is used to determine how much alcohol the driver has in his system. Normally, a third breath test is given to see if the results are consistent. Another type of Alcotest analysis uses electro-chemical analysis to determine the blood alcohol level.
It is extremely complicated to use the Alcotest 7110. The officer who is doing the test must complete a number of steps to make sure the machine gives accurate results. In addition to the three tests, the officer must check the ambient air in the machine. The driver must blow into the machine for 4.5 seconds and blow in specific amounts of air. There are also strict time limits between each test that must be met.
The reliability of breath tests also depends on a variety of factors, such as the driver’s weight, body temperature, and metabolism.
The Dräger Alcotest® 9510 is a new breath test machine that is being used in other states. The reliability of the tests from this machine is being contested in these states. Massachusetts recently disqualified all Alcotest 9510 tests taken before September 14, 2014.
Operator certification requirements
New Jersey law N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.3 requires that breath tests be given only by police officers who are properly certified as a breath test operator. The certificate must be valid at the time the test is given.
Our Middlesex DWI lawyers:
- Demand that the operator physically produce the certification card.
- Inspect the card to ensure it hasn’t expired. Breath test operators need to be re-certified every several years.
- Examine the card to see if it was signed and dated appropriately.
If the card is defective in any way, the operator did not have authority to give the test
Reasons breathalyzer test results can be thrown out
The challenges to the Alcotest 7110 that our lawyers make are:
- That the operator was not properly certified
- That the operator failed to follow the complicated steps in the right order, at the right time, and in the right way
- That the machine was not properly calibrated and was not in working order
Breathalyzer machines such as the Alcotest 7110 must be constantly maintained and recalibrated to ensure their accuracy. If a machine was not timely checked, then the breath test results are invalid. Calibration is a complex process that must be done accurately.
Similar challenges are made to other breath test machines that might be used.
Learn how your drunk driving test might be inadmissible
There are many defenses to a NJ drunk driving charge. The police may not have had a reasonable suspicion that you committed a traffic offense. The officer may not have seen you driving. A major defense to drunk driving charges is to show that the test used to determine your BAC was unreliable. At Aiello, Harris, Marth, Tunnero & Schiffman, P.C., our Middlesex drunk driving attorneys have had a great deal of success in showing that the breath test was improper. For help with your DWI case, please call us at (908) 561-5577 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free appointment.