DWI charges are taken very seriously in New Jersey. As a result, they often carry heavy consequences that can follow you throughout your life. That is why it is important to know your rights. In some cases, it is possible to challenge a DWI charge with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Read on to learn more about potential DWI defenses in New Jersey.
What are the Potential DWI Defenses?
The three main defenses when it comes to challenging a DWI include illegal stops, officers breaking the 20-minute rule, and officers failing to follow strict sobriety test protocol.
If a police officer stops you, they must have a valid reason to do so. If you can prove that you were stopped illegally, the evidence gathered at that stop may be dismissed.
According to New Jersey law, officers are required to observe a subject for no less than 20 minutes before conducting a chemical breath test. During the test, police officers must look for signs of regurgitation that can skew the results and ensure that the test is as accurate as possible. If the officer did not wait the necessary 20 minutes and it can be proven, this may be a valid defense to dismiss the charges.
Sobriety Test Protocol
There are three field sobriety tests that can help a police officer assess the likelihood that the subject is intoxicated. These tests include:
- The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test
- The One Leg Stand test
- The Walk and Turn test
These tests have specific rules as to how they must be carried out. The officer must not only read the instructions of the test to the driver, but demonstrate it for them as well. Before the tests begin, the driver must fully understand what is expected of them. If an individual fails a test, the officer may arrest them for a DWI.
Some defenses for a failed Field Sobriety Test may include:
- The officer did not read all the instructions
- The officer did not demonstrate the test
- The officer did not inform the individual that they may remove high heels
- The individual has health issues preventing them from passing the test
If you are facing a DWI charge in New Jersey, contact our firm to speak with an experienced and dedicated criminal defense attorney.
Contact our experienced New Jersey firm
Thomas DeMarco & Associates, LLC is an experienced Camden County criminal defense law firm located in Mt. Ephraim, New Jersey. We understand how potentially damaging a criminal can be, which is why we pride ourselves on our willingness to fight for our client’s rights. Our firm handles all criminal matters and is ready to provide you with our knowledgeable legal counsel. Do not hesitate to contact our firm to discuss your legal situation.