In a recent case, our Linden DWI attorneys defended a client who was arrested for drunk driving after smashing into another vehicle sitting at a traffic light. Cops were quickly called to the scene where they first encountered the defendant standing outside his car that had heavy front end damage. They initially noticed him swaying back and forth and when they asked him where he was coming from and if he had anything to drink he responded by telling them he was at Taboo and had been drinking. While speaking with the officers, they noted the smell of alcohol on his breath, that his speech was slow and slurred, and that his eyes were watery. Based on these observations, the police conducted several standard field sobriety tests including the HGN, Walk & Turn, as well as the One Leg Stand and they noted that the defendant exhibited several indicators or clues of intoxication. After these tests, he was arrested for DWI and brought to the police station where he gave a breath sample that registered in at a whooping 0.25% over 3 times the legal limit.
Soon after the incident, he contacted our office looking for help with his situation. He was very concerned about going to jail and other penalties such as a higher suspension, ignition interlock device, and community service given the high breath reading and accident. In order to avoid these enhanced penalties our lawyers knew we would have to somehow make sure this dangerously high reading could not be used against our client. We started by combing through the evidence to look for anything we could use to our client’s benefit such as an inconsistency in our the officer’s testimony or potential accuracy issues with the Alcotest breathalyzer machine itself. After pinpointing several potential issues, we brought in an ex-state trooper as an expert witness to challenge the validity of the breath reading based on the state’s fail to prove by clear and convincing that certain pre-qualifications were done properly prior to the administration of the machine. In the end, the prosecutor conceded that the issues regarding the breathalyzer were too insurmountable for them to proceed with it against our client so the reading was suppressed and our client was able to walk out of court with only a 90 day loss of his driving privileges based only the observations and field sobriety tests that were conducted at the scene.
State v. D.K. decided October 16, 2017