In New Jersey, facing a DUI charge is a serious matter. It carries potentially severe consequences.
However, defendants should be aware that procedural violations during their arrest and subsequent legal proceedings can play an important role in building a strong defense.
1. Sobriety checkpoint procedures
Law enforcement agencies in New Jersey must follow strict guidelines when conducting sobriety checkpoints. These guidelines dictate the proper setup, location and administration of checkpoints. Any deviation from these procedures can potentially lead to the exclusion of evidence obtained during the checkpoint, providing an opening for the defense.
2. Field sobriety tests accuracy
New Jersey has 245.3 DUI arrests per 100,000 drivers. During stops, officers commonly use field sobriety tests, such as the walk-and-turn or one-leg stand, to gauge a driver’s impairment level. However, if officers do not administer these tests according to the standardized procedures the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration outlines, the results may be unreliable in court. Errors in instruction or execution could be grounds for challenging the validity of the evidence.
3. Breath test calibration and maintenance
The accuracy of breath test results is contingent on proper calibration and maintenance of the testing equipment. If officials did not regularly calibrate or maintain the device they used to measure blood alcohol content, the defense may argue that the results are unreliable. Any oversight in the maintenance of breath test equipment could potentially cast doubt on the accuracy of the BAC reading.
4. Miranda rights violations
When officers take a suspect into custody, they must inform suspects of their Miranda rights, including the right to remain silent and the right to legal representation. Failure to provide these warnings can lead to the exclusion of statements the defendant makes during the arrest process. Any violation of Miranda rights can be a significant factor in the defense strategy.
A deep examination of the circumstances surrounding DUI arrests may reveal opportunities for a robust defense strategy, potentially leading to a more favorable outcome in court.