The Alcotest: What is it and how will it impact my DUI case?
One simple device leads to extensive discussion and controversy
When a driver is pulled over on the suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, nearly everybody knows that a breath test is going to be used to substantiate DUI charges. In 2005, New Jersey replaced their existing Breathalyzer system with the Alcotest. Pending state Supreme Court review, the Alcotest was integrated into practice in 2008. The Alcotest is designed to measure a person’s blood alcohol content or concentration (BAC) utilizing a two-step procedure. The first breath sample must be followed by a two-minute lockout period to prevent the first sample from contaminating the second sample. There are also established procedures in place that dictate how the Alcotest should be administered requiring observation of the accused prior to administration of the test. Eating or drinking prior to the test may unfairly impact the test results.
Since its inception in 2008, the Alcotest has led to numerous legal cases challenging its application, validity and accuracy. Claims have been made arguing that the Alcotest software is out-of-date and deficient. Other cases have claimed that the machines fail to adhere to the two-minute lockout between samples thus allowing for cross-contamination and inaccurate readings. In some cases, it has been argued that the procedures before, during and after administration of the Alcotest have violated the defendant’s rights.
There have also been cases that challenged New Jersey’s implied consent law by arguing that not all persons are capable of providing the requisite breath sample needed by the Alcotest to provide an accurate reading. The implied consent law mandates that all licensed drivers submit to a breath test at the request of law enforcement. However, elderly individuals and those with diminished lung capacity have argued that they are physically unable to comply with this law. The New Jersey courts have held that the defendant bears the burden of proving that he is unable to physically provide a sample.
Despite these challenges, the Alcotest remains the de facto standard for proving DUI claims. However, a positive Alcotest reading does not mean that you are without options. There may be several defenses available depending on the circumstances of your traffic stop, arrest and breath testing. It is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible to preserve your rights and develop a strong defense strategy.
Contact a team of experienced New Jersey DUI defense attorneys for tenacious advocacy
Our dedicated New Jersey DUI defense attorneys at Lomurro Law are ready to work for you. To discuss your options, call 732-482-9285 or send an email today. We provide the legal resources and guidance you need to understand your options and make the best decisions for your case.