Our DWI attorneys recently defended a client who was charged with driving while intoxicated after he rear-ended a car near the Holland Tunnel. Port Authority Police were called to the scene because of the accident and after speaking with our client they smelled alcohol on his breath and decided to arrest him for DWI. He was brought to the Port Authority Police Station so they could conduct the breathalyzer, also known as the Alcotest machine. However, the Alcotest failed after the machine had an internal error so the officers had to again transfer our client to another police station to conduct the test where he eventually gave a breath sample of 0.12% which was over the legal limit.
As part of our representation, we requested all the relevant evidence pertaining to our client’s case be produced in court. In particular we wanted to see the first breath sample from the Alcotest that failed earlier in the day in order to what level of alcohol it registered and also to set up a detailed timeline after the defendant’s arrest to see if the police officer’s followed the correct protocols, in particular the required 20 minute observation period before the breathalyzer. However, the prosecutor could not produce the results from the earlier test because, according to the police, they had destroyed it. Based on this information, our attorneys filed a motion to suppress the breathalyzer reading from evidence and successfully argued the motion before the municipal judge who suppressed the breathalyzer reading. This meant that the prosecutor could no longer rely on the 0.12% alcohol reading to prove our client guilty of the DWI and instead could only use the standard field sobriety tests such as walking a straight to try and prove he was drunk at the time of the accident. On the day of trial, our attorneys were able to convince of the police officer and the prosecutor that they could not prove the DWI simply based on the field sobriety tests because the defendant had performed them very well. Therefore, the court dismissed the DWI charges against our client.
State v. J.Z. decided April 10, 2017