In New Jersey, a DUI or DWI is a charge of driving or operating a motor vehicle when you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Upon suspecting a driver of being under the influence, they will be arrested and brought back to the police department to have their blood alcohol content, or BAC, checked. How is this done? It is determined with the Alcotest® 7110 MKIII-C breathalyzer device used by New Jersey police.
What is the Alcotest®?
The Alcotest® is a test that records the BAC levels in a person’s body. It takes a sample of breath from a person and then it determines the specific blood alcohol level of the person. In order for the Alcotest® to work correctly, a person has to breathe 1.5 liters for 4.5 seconds. This will give an accurate reading of the BAC levels in the lungs. The machine then stores this data in an intricate fashion.
The data is available for download from the New Jersey State Police, should it be questioned upon the related DWI charge. In order to make certain each breathalyzer test is functioning correctly, the Alcotest® needs to be calibrated periodically. This process involves treating the breathalyzer machine with solutions that recreate human breath samples at different BAC levels.
During the time of this test, all of the internal data from the breathalyzer is downloaded and then kept by State Police. This data can show how well the machine has functioned within a period of six months previous to the download. The information downloaded about the machine’s functions is in very complex form, but can be interpreted by someone familiar with how to analyze the data. The law firm of Villani & DeLuca has experience when it comes to analyzing the complex Alcotest® information and can use it in your defense. Attorney Carmine Villani, Esq. is one of a small number of New Jersey lawyers that has been Alcotest® trained.
State v. Chun: Admissibility of Breath Tests
In the 2008 decision in State v. Chun, the Supreme Court of New Jersey addressed the scientific reliability of the Alcotest® breath-testing device and considered the admissibility of the Alcohol Influence Reports (AIRs) that it generates for the prosecution of defendants under New Jersey drunk driving laws. In a lengthy decision of numerous findings, it was held that the testing device was reliable provided certain procedures are followed to ensure accuracy of its results. Additionally, the decision also established that the State must maintain an ongoing Alcotest® result database that will be available to the defense in DUI proceedings. In most cases, your lawyer will receive access to the data relevant to your breath test and the device used on the date of your arrest and then can analyze it for errors.
What if the State Does Not Provide You with a Digital Download?
As stated above, when you are charged with a DWI in New Jersey, the prosecution is under an obligation to provide you with the Alcotest® data download. The data download is created every six months or so, when the police perform a calibration on the machine, as required now by Chun. A copy of the information is made part of a statewide database and is available for discovery by defendants tested on the machine.
Based on the information collected by your DWI attorney, there may be opportunities to challenge either the operation of the machine or the reliability of its results. For example, the data could show that there was a problem with the machine used to test your breath, or maybe the officer performing the test did not follow proper protocol as required under the law, calling into question the results used to charge you with DUI. If either argument is valid, the BAC reading produced by the Alcotest® could be considered inaccurate and therefore inadmissible against you in court.
Hire a DUI Lawyer to Fight Your Alcotest® Results
Were you given a breath test and then charged with a DUI in New Jersey? Do you feel that maybe the police did not follow protocol in issuing your breathalyzer or you would like to challenge the data of the machine? You need to hire an attorney experienced with challenging Alcotest® results in New Jersey courts. If you feel that you have been unjustly charged with a DUI, and want the results of the Alcotest read by an experienced attorney, contact the law office of Villani & DeLuca today. Partner Carmine Villani is trained by the manufacturer of the Alcotest® and can use his knowledge to help fight your DUI charge. Call today for a free consultation!