How Can I Get a DUI Dropped in New Jersey?
When you have been charged with a DUI in New Jersey, a skilled DWI attorney can defend you by applying the facts of your case to possible defenses used to obtain dismissal. These defenses are often used by experienced lawyers and some of them involve common pitfalls that the prosecution may attempt to maneuver around. Here, we will walk you through some of the ways that we successfully get DWI cases dismissed in Englewood, East Rutherford, Paramus, Saddle Brook, Mahwah, and other New Jersey municipalities. Call (201)-330-4979 for a free consultation with an attorney regarding your potential defenses if you recently got arrested for driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence of drugs.
Technicalities that can be Used to Contest a DWI in New Jersey
It’s best to think of the DWI defense in terms of a timeline. After you are arrested and charged with driving under the influence, your attorney should be requesting discovery. In the important period of time before a trial, your lawyer gets to review the evidence that the prosecution may present to the court in order to prove their case against you. They can thoroughly analyze every step of the DWI to ensure it was valid, accurate, and legal. There are many defenses that can be offered by an experienced attorney. Some of these defenses include the following.
Pulled over Illegally
The first defense an experienced attorney may employ is that of an illegal stop by the arresting officers. For a police officer to temporarily detain you while driving or stop your vehicle from driving, they must have reasonable suspicion based on articulable facts that you have violated the law. Without reasonable suspicion, if a police officer pulls you over, they are violating your Fourth Amendment protection against unlawful search and seizure.
Physical Health Problems
After a police officer stops you on suspicion of driving while under the influence (assuming he has a reasonable basis for doing so), the police officer may administer a series of field sobriety tests (FSTs), which most likely will include them asking you to conduct physical poses and steps. These acts requested by the police officer include walking a straight line, touching your nose, and several others used to determine whether or not you are under the influence. However, if you have problems with your health, for example, bad joints or arthritis, it could be extremely difficult for you to pass these field sobriety tests. If you fail them, the police officer may arrest you for driving while intoxicated or impaired by a controlled dangerous substance. In these situations, your attorney can present the argument that it was unlikely for you to pass these tests due to your health issues and not because you were under the influence.
Along with health issues, another important factor in determining the validity of a field sobriety test is the weather in which it was performed. It’s hard to walk in a straight line if there are wind gusts or bad rain. Weather plays a huge role in whether or not you may pass a field sobriety test, regardless of whether or not you are sober. Without a valid field sobriety test, the police officer may have no other basis for charging you with violating NJSA 39:4-50.
Problems with the Breathalyzer Test
The State must submit into evidence documents showing that the breathalyzer results are accurate, as well as other core foundational documents. When the device used to administer the breathalyzer test malfunctions, it can lead to the results being kept out of court. Also, in order to properly and legally administer a breathalyzer test, the police officer must be licensed to do so. Much like the previous requirement, failing to keep the breathalyzer up to date can also lead to the breathalyzer results being kept out of evidence. Possible false breath tests may also be caused by mouthwash, mints, etc. If there is a problem with the breathalyzer test results, this would mean that the state cannot use the test results to demonstrate that your blood alcohol content was above the legal limit when you were driving your vehicle at the time of the stop.
Technicalities in the Discovery
Also, there are certain procedures that police officers must follow in arresting and charging for driving while under the influence. If they fail to do so, it can lead to a dismissal of your charges if you have an experienced attorney. These procedures include reading the implied consent warning. Basically, before submitting to a breathalyzer test, a police officer must read this warning to the suspected drunk driver. If they do not read this warning, this can lead to dropping of the charges. Also, there is a mandatory observation period. This means police officers must wait and observe you for 20 minutes before conducting the breathalyzer test. If they do not, the court can decide to prohibit the breathalyzer results from being introduced as evidence to the court.
In the discovery, there may be a videotape from a police officer’s body camera or from their police cruiser that shows contradictory evidence to what the state may be presenting to prove its case. These videos often show a driver that was perfectly normal in their speech, conduct, and performance of all field sobriety tests. In addition, the video may not show evidence that the driver committed the supposed infraction that led to them being pulled over in the first place. This can be damning evidence against the state, and a skilled attorney can turn this into an outright acquittal in court.
Some of the lesser-known defenses include:
- The defense of Common Law Necessity, which puts forth that a driver had to drive to avoid an impending emergency
- Intent to operate is another defense if the operator of the vehicle was inoperable or in certain other cases
- Inaccurate results of blood tests administered by hospitals
- Elevated blood pressure during Drug Recognition Evaluation
- Failure to provide complete discovery and/or speedy trial
Speak with a Lawyer who can Help
There are many defenses that attorneys can point out for you if you are facing the serious charge of driving while under the influence. Our trained and highly credentialed DWI defense lawyers can analyze the facts of your case and if possible, create an argument that those same facts fall squarely within the defenses available. Even more so, an accomplished attorney on our team will be able to present this argument to the court and potentially secure an outright dismissal of the charge if there are issues with the stop, the testing, the devices used, the arrest protocols, or the prosecution’s handling of the case in court. If you have been charged with driving while intoxicated or another controlled dangerous substance was involved in your DUI arrest in Fort Lee, Lodi, Teaneck, Ridgefield Park, Elmwood Park, Garfield, or elsewhere in New Jersey, contact (201)-330-4979 to speak with an attorney now. We are available immediately to assist you in a free consultation.