New Reason to Challenge Breathalyzers: Helpful to Your DWI case?
- Dan T. Matrafajlo
- Wed Sep 2016
If you’ve followed the news, you may wonder if recent criminal charges against a state law enforcement officer may impact your DWI case. According to information distributed to certain court officials, 20,667 individuals could bring up legal challenges due to a pending case against a New Jersey police sergeant. Find out how this information might pertain to drunk driving charges for many New Jersey vehicle operators.
The criminal complaint against the New Jersey State Police Sergeant deals with his certification of the calibration of breathalyzer machines. New Jersey law enforcement officials currently use Alcotest 7110 MKIII units to measure blood alcohol concentration levels (BAC). Certain legal requirements are in place concerning calibration and use of the equipment.
The accused police officer in this matter was the Coordinator of the State Police Alcohol Drug Testing Unit (ADU) and was bound to the standards concerning calibration and recalibration of equipment outlined by the Chief Forensic Scientist of the New Jersey State Police. The rules outline the protocol and are further discussed in a 2011 New Jersey Supreme court decision, State v. Chen.
It is alleged that the former ADU Coordinator ignored a preliminary testing requirement. Specifically, the contention is that the police sergeant did not use the mandated digital thermometer to test liquid simulator solutions. He is accused of falsely certified that he conducted this testing when he signed calibration certification records. Misrepresentation of records is a criminal offense that could carry up to five years of jail time.
Challenging Breathalyzer Results
Alcotests have been challenged for a variety of reasons. However, the criminal charges filed against the New Jersey state police sergeant raise some interesting questions. Here is some important information for consideration:
- The officer only certified calibration of Alcotest units in certain counties. His alleged misrepresentation may only come into play for DWI defendants in Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Somerset and Union counties.
- Since the outcome of the criminal allegations against the police sergeant may impact so many defendants, the Division of Criminal Justice has asked for special consideration. They have requested that the State appoint a Special Master to oversee all cases. This would allow for consistency in rulings.
- The state has put together a database of all 20,667 defendants potentially affected by the alleged falsification of records.
The Law Offices of Beninato & Matrafaljo have many decades of combined experience handling DWI cases. Even if your case is not impacted by this recent news revelation, we would like to assist you. There is no charge to speak with one our attorneys. Contact us to learn your legal options.