I have had several successful results for clients recently in Morristown Municipal Court who were charged with drunk driving. First, I represented a client who was charged with a first offense DWI with a .13% BAC breath test reading. As a result, my client was facing a seven (7) month to one (1) year license suspension as well as several other tickets including reckless driving. After reviewing the discovery, I was able to isolate a twenty-minute observation issue which led to the breath test readings being suppressed. In New Jersey, State v. Chun requires that a law enforcement officer observe a defendant arrested for DWI for twenty (20) minutes uninterrupted just prior to the defendant submitting a breath sample on the Alcotest machine. The reason for this twenty-minute observation period is that if a defendant eats anything, chews gum, smokes a cigarette, vomits, etc. then the defendant’s mouth alcohol level will be affected and the breath testing machine will not produce a reliable breath reading. Based on this issue, my client received a three-month driver’s license suspension and all the other tickets were dismissed, pursuant to the plea agreement.
In another recent case in Morristown Municipal Court, I had a client charged with a first offense DWI with a .09% Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). Based on this reading, the client was facing a three-month driver’s license suspension as well as a DWI surcharge through the Department of Motor Vehicles of $1,000.00 a year for three (3) years. After reviewing the discovery, I identified several issues with the State’s case. First, the probable cause for the stop was questionable. The defendant was stopped for failure to observe signal for allegedly running a red light on the green in the center of Morristown. However, when my client and I took photos of the scene of the alleged violation, it became clear that the signage and the “no turn on red” sign is on the left side of the street and there are no signs either above the light or on the right side of the road. As a result, if you are in the right lane and there are cars in the left lane, it would be impossible to see the one sign that prohibits a right turn on red. Moreover, there was a twenty-minute observation issue as well as proof issues with the field sobriety tests that my client performed at the scene of the stop. Based on these proof issues, the State agreed to suppress the .09% BAC reading and dismiss the DWI charge in exchange for my client’s plea of guilty to a failure to observe signal ticket with a ninety (90) day driver’s license suspension. My client was extremely satisfied with this result which allowed him to avoid a DWI charge on his record.