DWI Breath Reading Suppressed at Trial


Our office recently defended a client for a DWI charge in Union County after he was pulled over for swerving on the road and later blew a 0.14% into the breathalyzer (Alcotest machine). Based on this breath alcohol reading (BAC) our client was facing a 7 – 12 month mandatory loss of his driver’s license. Our client admittedly had a bad night and was not professing his innocence but was looking to minimize his consequences if at all possible. So we took a hard look at the evidence and it became evident that before the police could get a breath reading of our client’s alcohol intoxication level they had to bring him to 3 different police stations because the prior 2 breathalyzers were not working properly. Once at the final police station they were able to successfully get a valid breath reading but only the arresting officer wrote a report and officer responsible for administering the breathalyzer did not document his procedures, most importantly the 20 minute observation period that is required by State v. Chun. Our attorneys brought the issue to the attention of the municipal prosecutor in hopes that he would recognize that since the proper procedures were not documented he could not prove the BAC reading by clear and convincing evidence, which is the standard of proof that the prosecutor must establish. and agree to suppress the reading to resolve the case to a downgraded charge. However, the prosecutor refused to acknowledge the issue so we had the case set down for a trial to take testimony from the police officer who administered the breathalyzer. At trial it became evident that police officer could not specifically remember our client’s case or when he had started or stopped the 20 minute observation period because no records existed. Due to his testimony, the judge ruled that the prosecutor could not meet his burden and the breathalyzer reading was suppressed.

If you or a loved one has been charged with driving while intoxicated, like the example above, then contact a New Providence DWI Attorney today to learn more about your possible options.

State v. R.V. decided January 18, 2017

With more than a decade of experience defending clients against criminal charges, founding partner William A. Proetta has successfully handled and tried thousands of cases, from DWI to murder. As a New Jersey native, he has focused his career on helping people in the area where he grew up, serving Middlesex, Ocean, Hudson, and Union counties.