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WHY HIRE US TO HANDLE YOUR DWI CASE?

Why hire the attorneys at Roberts & Teeter to handle your New Jersey DWI? We challenge the evidence, hold the State to their proofs and walk our clients through the entire process, step by step. Dealing with a DWI charge in New Jersey can be stressful and intimidating. During your FREE consultation we will educate you on DWI law in New Jersey, calm your nerves, and discuss your options.

Our attorneys fight hard to achieve the best possible outcome for you. Many times the police make a procedural mistake or the Alco-Test machine malfunctions. Sometimes this can lead to the readings being unreliable and not admissible in your case.

We truly believe there are two sides to every story. The attorneys at Roberts & Teeter will advocate aggressively to tell your side of the story. We evaluate all options and most importantly, make sure our client’s are informed and advised during the entire process.

Our services are affordable and we offer payment plans. If you or a loved one has been charged with Driving While Intoxicated in the state of New Jersey, call 732-374-3436 and schedule a free consultation today.

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DWI Defenses

DWI charges in New Jersey are very serious. On a first offense a driver is facing a license suspension between 3 to 12 months depending on their blood alcohol reading. On a second offense, it’s a mandatory2 year suspension plus jail time. On a third offense your license will be revoked for 10 years and 180 days in jail will be imposed. In addition, the Court will impose fines and the DMV will impose thousands in surcharges. Finally, the Court may require you install an interlock device in your car, even if you don’t own a vehicle.

What makes matters worse is that the State does not allow plea bargaining on DWI charges and the penalties described above are mandatory. Therefore, if you are looking to avoid the mandatory DWI penalties, you will need an aggressive attorney who can investigate your case and fight for your rights.

There are many ways to fight on a DWI. These include:

CHALLENGE THE STOP

If you can successfully challenge the motor vehicle stop, the DWI will be dismissed. The most common reason drivers are stopped on suspected DWI is because they were swerving, using their high beams, or they didn’t use their turn signal. Many times we are able to obtain the police vehicle mobile-recorder video which shows the defendant’s driving. If we are able to convince the judge that the vehicle was in fact not swerving then we can argue the DWI should be thrown out. Did you know that the law in New Jersey requires the use of a turn signal only if there is another vehicle nearby to see it? Similarly, the use of high beams is only a violation if there is a vehicle passing in the opposite direction. In recent Appellate Division cases, DWI charges were thrown out because the court determined that a turn signal was not required at the time and that it was not unlawful for the driver to be using their high beams, even though the officer testified that there were no other vehicles on the road. If the judge determines that there was no reasonable suspicion to stop the driver, then the DWI must be dismissed.

CHALLENGE THE FIELD SOBRIETY TESTS

Police often use field sobriety tests to determine that a person was operating under the influence of alcohol and to make an arrest. The most common field sobriety tests used in New Jersey are the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (“HGN”), the one-legged raise, and the walk and turn. The HGN is the test where the officer shines a light into the suspect’s eyes while asking the suspect to follow the stimulus, usually a pen, from side to side. Did you know that the HGN test has been determined to be scientifically unreliable and cannot be used as evidence that a person was driving under the influence?

The walk and turn and the one-legged raise are both considered divided attention tests because a person is asked to remember a series of directions while performing a moving action requiring balance. There are many ways to successfully change the divided attention tests. Sometimes the officer doesn’t administer the test correctly. Other times the suspect actually passed the test even though the officer claims he or she failed. Obtaining the video is crucial in these cases. In many occasions a suspect has a bone fide medical reason explaining why he or she has poor balance. Through thorough investigation and zealous advocacy the attorneys at Roberts & Teeter often can challenge the Field Sobriety Tests. If we convince a judge that the arresting officer did not have probable cause to make the arrest, then the DWI must be thrown out.

CHALLENGE THE READING
Blood alcohol readings come in two forms; either through a blood draw or a breath reading. Both methods can be challenged. The United States Supreme Court recently ruled that in order to obtain a victim’s blood, the police need consent, a warrant signed by a judge, or exigent circumstances. The fact that your body may be metabolizing the alcohol and the BAC may be dropping is not sufficient exigency to ignore the warrant requirement. Even when the police do have consent or a warrant, the results from a blood draw can still be suppressed. Many times the police do not properly take the blood, store the blood, or test the blood. Through our trained toxicology experts, we may be able to prove to the court that the reading is unreliable and must be thrown out.

In New Jersey, the police are currently using the Dreager Alcotest machine to determine a person’s blood alcohol content through a breath sample. There are many ways to challenge the admissibility of a breath reading. The first way is to demonstrate operator error. If the operator did not observe the suspect for 20 minutes uninterrupted, the results must be thrown out. If the operator did not check the suspect’s oral cavity for foreign objects, the test must be thrown out. If the suspect was observed to be belching or throwing up, the operator is required to start the 20 minute observation period anew in order for the reading to be reliable. The operator is required to remove cell phones and radios from the room prior to testing. The operator must change the mouth piece after every breath. Even if the operator did everything he was supposed to do, the reading can still be challenged. Sometimes there are problems with the machine itself. If either the operator or the machine isn’t properly certified then the reading is not admissible. Did you know there are 5 items the State must admit before the judge can hear your reading? These include:

  • the alco-test operator’s card,
  • a written calculation of your breath samples,
  • recent calibration reports including controlled tests, linearity tests, and the credentials of the coordinator who performed the calibration,
  • the most recent standard solution report used to test the machine, and
  • the certification of analysis for the simulator solution used in the controlled tests on the machine.

If any of these documents are missing, the reading is unreliable and should be suppressed.

SUPPRESSION HEARING AND TRIAL

If there is a basis to challenge the reading because the stop was illegal, the arrest was unlawful, or the readings are unreliable, your attorney should file a motion to suppress the reading. The Court will hold a 104 hearing which is like a mini-trial. The prosecutor will call witnesses which typically includes the arresting officer and the officer who took the blood sample or administered the alco-test. Your attorney then has the right to cross examine the State’s witnesses to bring out any issues favorable to your case. At the close of the State’s case, your attorney can call witnesses on your behalf including experts, people at the scene, or even the defendant. At the end of the evidence, the judge will hear arguments why to admit or keep out the reading. If the reading is kept out, usually the prosecutor cannot proceed, and the DWI will be dismissed. If the judge does determine that the reading is reliable and the motion to suppress is denied, you still have a right to a trial.

In New Jersey DWI trials are without a jury. The judge decides if the State has met its burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Sometimes a court may determine that a reading is reliable but still have doubt if you were in fact operating the vehicle at a time reasonably close to when your reading was taken. A skilled attorney may be able to convince the judge that reasonable doubt exists and to find you not guilty of the charge.

DWI cases are complex and the penalties are severe. Plea bargaining is not allowed so if you are looking to beat your charges you must have a knowledgeable and skilled attorney who will fight for you. The attorneys at Roberts & Teeter have experience in handling, fighting, and winning DWI cases. Call today for a free consultation to see what your options are and what we can do for you.

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CONTACT US FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

732-374-3436

Info@CentralNJLawyers.com

1075 Easton Avenue – Tower 2, Suite 2 – Somerset, NJ 08873