There are two primary ways the State can prove intoxication in drunk driving cases in New Jersey. The most common evidence the State uses to establish intoxication is a breath test reading. The breath testing device used in New Jersey is the Alcotest 7110 breath machine which is manufactured by Draeger Safety. This breath testing device uses the breath samples to determine the defendant’s blood alcohol content (BAC) for purposes of drunk driving prosecutions. Our DWI defense lawyers are trained on the Alcotest 7110 MKIII-C Version NJ3.11’s analytical system, components, and peripherals, as well as how to operate the instrument and perform a New Jersey specific breath test sequence. This means that our attorneys are trained and certified to operate the Alcotest 7110 breath testing machine which law enforcement officers use to obtain blood alcohol content (BAC) to prosecute DWI cases in New Jersey.
The second way that the State can prove a drunk driving charge in New Jersey is based on the physical observations of the law enforcement officer. This can include bloodshot/watery eyes, odor of alcohol on the defendant’s breath, slurred speech, etc. Moreover, the physical observations also typically include the defendant’s performance on field sobriety tests. Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (“SFSTs”) are approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”). The three typical field sobriety tests uses in most cases are the following:
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (“HGN”) Test
- Walk and turn test
- One leg stand test
The HGN test has not been proven scientifically reliable in New Jersey courts as of 2011. The HGN test can only be used as probable cause for the arrest for DWI and is not admissible at trial. Some of the other tests include:
- Counting backwards and forwards
- Head tilt test
- Finger to nose test
- Reciting the alphabet
Even if the State does not possess admissible breath test readings based on an issue with the Alcotest machine, etc., the State can still prove a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge based on the observations of the law enforcement officer and the defendant’s performance on these field sobriety tests. It is imperative that you hire an experienced drunk driving lawyer who is familiar with these tests, the proper instructions for same, and the required performance to pass these field sobriety tests. Our criminal defense and DWI defense team has several members who are certified in Standardized Field Sobriety Testing. In fact, three of our attorneys are licensed instructors in field sobriety testing. This means that our attorneys are qualified to teach the classes at the police academy with regard to the proper instruction and performance on field sobriety tests in DWI cases. Moreover, our attorneys are former DWI prosecutors for the State. As a result, our experience and credentials are clear. If you or a loved one has been charged with drunk driving in New Jersey, contact our DWI defense lawyers anytime for a free initial consultation at (973)971-0030.