Police officers have multiple tools, techniques and tests they may use to try to obtain evidence of drunk driving. You may be asked to submit to a breath test, so the officers can measure your blood alcohol content (BAC). In New Jersey, breath tests are conducted with the Draeger Alcotest 7110. Developed by Draeger Industries, the Alcotest has become the standard in New Jersey for breath testing.
Results from an Alcotest are admissible as evidence in court, so long as certain conditions are met. The Alcotest is not infallible. If you are placed under arrest and submit to a test using this device, an attorney may be able to challenge the results. Possible reasons for challenging Alcotest results include:
- Incorrect administration of the test: The person who administers testing with Alcotest must be trained and certified. Officers must observe you for 20 minutes before they can administer the test. Certain procedures must also be followed. If these or other requirements are not met, then your attorney may call the results into question.
- Improper calibration: All breath testing devices must be calibrated to produce accurate results. If the Alcotest was not calibrated or functioning correctly when you were tested, then it may be possible to challenge the results.
- Missing inspections: Breath Test Coordinator Instructors are supposed to inspect Alcotests and provide Breath Testing Instrument Inspection Certificates. If the Alcotest was not inspected and certified, it could be grounds for challenging the results.
- Cross-contamination: Certain health conditions or actions can contaminate Alcotest results. This is why officers are required to observe you for 20 minutes before administering the test. If this 20-minute observation period was not performed correctly (or at all), the results may be questioned.
Have Alcotest Results Been Challenged in New Jersey?
Results of these tests from 20,000 DWI convictions in New Jersey were recently called into question. The former coordinator of the Alcohol Drug Testing Unit was accused of incorrectly calibrating Alcotest breath tests used in 20,000 cases from 2008 to 2016.
Whether problems with the Alcotest could be used to argue for a case dismissal or reduction in charges depends on the circumstances. You should always speak to an attorney after being arrested for a DWI in New Jersey. There may be other defense strategies that could be pursued for your case. If you were arrested for a DWI, then New Jersey criminal defense lawyer David Gelman could inform you of your rights and possible defense strategies.