4 DWI/DUI Defense Tactics to Fight New Jersey Drunk Driving Charges
When a mistake or lapse in judgment leads to an arrest for DWI in New Jersey, one of the first things that may cross your mind is the potential penalties you face for a conviction. You are right to be concerned as New Jersey’s drunk driving statute imposes severe punishment.
In addition to fines ranging from $250-$500, you could also be sentenced to a jail term of up to 30 days and a six-month driver’s license suspension. The penalties increase for a second offense, including jail time up to 90 days and a license suspension of up to 2 years. A third or subsequent offense is more severe still, with minimum incarceration of 180 days and a license suspension of 8 years.
As a result, the second thing to cross your mind should be DWI/DUI defense tactics to fight the charges. There are multiple strategies that may apply, so you should trust a New Jersey DWI/DUI defense attorney to defend you and assist with your case. Some potential defenses include:
- Improper Stop or Arrest: Police need a valid reason to pull you over for drunk driving; they need to have a reasonable suspicion that you violated a motor vehicle law or are intoxicated before making a stop.
Officers will probably allege that you were swerving in traffic, speeding, or violating other traffic laws. They must also have probable cause to charge you with DWI/DUI, which requires a higher level of proof than what is required to pull you over. When the prosecutor’s case against you is missing, your defense attorney can seize on these weaknesses to win your case.
- Issues with Field Sobriety Tests: Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (also called “roadside tests” or “balance tests”) used by the police to assess your physical and mental capacity are fraught with issues and inconsistencies, so the results may provide you with a strong defense.
It is possible to undermine the results of your tests by showing that weather conditions and lighting in the area were poor, surfaces on which the tests were performed were uneven or full of debris, or other factors such as medical conditions or prior injuries affected your performance.
- Failure to Comply with Chemical Test Protocol: The conditions for obtaining breath, urine, or blood tests are very specific and any deviation from training or protocol by law enforcement authorities may provide grounds to have the test results excluded from evidence or tossed out of court. Examples include:
- The machines were not properly calibrated;
- The certifications for the devices were expired; or,
- The officers or medical personnel administering the tests were not properly trained or qualified.
- Defense Tactics at Trial: Always remember that the prosecutor must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in a criminal case. This includes drunk driving charges. A prosecutor may not have sufficient proof when any of the above issues lead the court to find evidence inadmissible.
If your case has not already been dismissed before trial, your attorney can raise these issues at trial to counter the high standard required to convict you for DWI/DUI.
A New Jersey DWI/DUI Defense Lawyer Can Explain Additional Strategies
Our team at the Law Office of Matthew V. Portella, LLC has the skills and experience to obtain a favorable result. Please contact our office right away if you’ve been charged with DWI/DUI. You can schedule an initial consultation by calling (856) 310-9800 or visiting us online.