Reduced DWI Sentence After Alcotest Reading Excluded
Earlier this week, our firm represented a client charged with DWI in Clinton Township, New Jersey, and the ultimate exclusion of the Alcotest reading significantly reduced the loss of license and fines. The exclusion of the Alcotest reading also guaranteed that the her sentence would NOT include the imposition of an interlock device on her car. In this case (as with every case), we started with a review of the discovery that was provided. According to the discovery produced by the state, our client registered a .20 BAC on the Alcotest. As a result, she was charged with DWI, Reckless Driving, and Failure to Maintain Lane. If the Alcotest reading was admitted into evidence, our client would have faced a minimum 7 month loss of license and the imposition of an ignition interlock device once the client's license was restored plus other fines and costs (you can review the penalties for a DWI conviction in New Jersey by clicking here). The Alcotest reading is only admissible if the state is able to provide all of the required proofs for its admission into evidence and can demonstrate that the police properly administered the test. The required proofs include ascertaining whether the Alcotest was properly calibrated, if it was working properly, and whether it was administered in the correct way at the time of the test. In reviewing the discovery, we determined that there were several inconsistencies between the time of the stop, the time of the arrest, the beginning of the 20 minute observation, and the time the test was administered to our client. Based upon an unreliable time line we were able to convince the municipal prosecutor that there was reasonable doubt that arresting officer did not satisfy the 20 minute continuous observation requirement to charge someone with DWI. The breath test can only be properly administered after the Alcotest operator observes the suspect continuously for 20 minutes to make sure there is no mouth alcohol or foreign objects in the Defendant's mouth. The end result for our client was that the results of the Aloctest were not offered into evidence. This outcome proved critical for our client. As a result of the inadmissibility of the Aloctest results, our client was able to plead guilty to a “first tier” DWI. That means her driver's license was only suspended for a 3-month period instead of 7 months to a year; additionally, the installation of the interlock device was not imposed. The difference in the sentencing outcome saved our client thousands of dollars and dramatically lessened the negative impact on her life. This is just another example of why you should never just plead guilty to a DWI of any other serious traffic offence.
We're here to help you, too. If you or a loved one needs strong representation in Monroe Township Municipal Court or any other municipal court in New Jersey, contact the municipal court defense lawyers at DeMichele & DeMichele today. We are here to defend the charges against you. Contact us now for your confidential and free initial consultation. You can also reach us by telephone (856) 546-1350. Don't just plead guilty and risk your driving privilege or driving record.
______ The outcome of every DWI case is very fact specific. Your particular case results will vary depending on a wide range of legal issues and other factors. The facts of your case may not apply to or relate to the results of the case described above.