Tag Archives: dwi

Is The Alcotest Being Phased Out?

When a law enforcement officer suspects that an individual is driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol, they must have probable cause to support an arrest. In addition, in order to secure a conviction for DUI, a prosecutor must have sufficient evidence that a driver had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit of 0.08 percent or other signs that a driver was impaired. One of the most concrete pieces of evidence that is commonly used in a DUI case is the result of a test that measures the alcohol level in a person’s breath. While many jurisdictions use the ubiquitous Breathalyzer device for breath tests, New Jersey law enforcement has used a device called the Alcotest 7110 MCIII-C since 2005.

The reliability of the Alcotest was first challenged in 2008 and then again in 2011. In 2011, it was discovered that the software for the Alcotest had not been properly updated—as was required for results to be reliable. However, the manufacturer announced it was no longer supporting the device as of 2016, so instead of updating the software, NJ officials decided to discontinue the use of the Alcotest device. In addition, the Breathalyzer is not a viable option, so it is unknown how law enforcement in NJ will soon provide breath test evidence in a DUI case.

If another breath test device is not accepted by the state soon, one possibility is that officers will rely more heavily on their observations of intoxication. Many difference observations are commonly used against defendants charged with DUI, including the following:

  • The odor of alcohol on a person or in the vehicle
  • Slurring of words
  • Stumbling or swaying
  • Bloodshot, red, or watery eyes
  • Empty containers in the vehicle
  • Erratic driving behaviors
  • Performance on field sobriety tests

None of the above are generally as reliable as the concrete results of a breath test indicating a driver’s specific BAC. Therefore, a skilled DUI defense attorney will challenge an officer’s observations any way possible and will keep watching for any news regarding a new breath test method in New Jersey.

Find out how an Experienced New Jersey DUI Defense Attorney can Help You

At the Law Office of Robert E. DePersia, II, we represent the rights of drivers facing charges of DUI and many other violations. Criminal defense lawyer Robert DePersia develops a unique and individualized defense in each case, so please contact our office today to discuss your situation.

15 DWI Facts You Need to Know

If you have never faced a DWI charge before, the process can be intimidating and stressful. The following are some important DWI facts that can be helpful for drivers in New Jersey:

  1. You should always pull over when a police officer signals you to do so. If you try to outrun the police to avoid a DWI, you will likely end up facing more serious charges.
  2. You can refuse to submit a breath sample to test your blood alcohol content (BAC), however, refusal will result in a license suspension under New Jersey’s implied consent law. A DWI attorney can handle you refusal case as well as your DWI case.
  3. Field sobriety tests must be administered in accordance with strict guidelines in order for the results to be accurate. Your lawyer can use improper FSTs as part of your defense.
  4. Your DWI attorney can also challenge the results of a breath or blood test if certain circumstances existed, if officers did not follow protocol, or if the lab made errors in analyzing the samples.
  5. DWI cases in New Jersey are handled in the municipal courts, so you should always have a DWI attorney who understands these court procedures.
  6. You are under no obligation to plead guilty to DWI charges and you can fight against the allegations at trial if you choose.
  7. The penalties for DWI conviction can vary depending on whether you have prior DWI convictions, the level of your BAC, whether you caused an accident or injuries, and other factors.
  8. DWI conviction will result in a license suspension of at least three months for a first offense and NJ has no probationary license available for restricted driving privileges to work or school.
  9. While many DWI convictions result in fines and probation, the municipal judge has the discretion to sentence you to up to 30 days in jail for a first offense (or more for subsequent offenses).
  10. Your attorney can file several motions with the court prior to your court date to challenge the charges against you based on lack of evidence or violation of your rights.
  11. Your attorney can challenge the arresting officer’s testimony against you by identifying inconsistent statements or uncertainties on cross-examination.
  12. A defense attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor in your case to potentially have your charge reduced to a “wet reckless” or even a lesser charge so that a DWI conviction does not appear on your record.
  13. The consequences for DWI greatly increase with multiple convictions within 10 years, as does the necessity of having a highly skilled attorney.
  14. DWI representation can be affordable and can greatly improve the outcome of your case in many different ways.
  15. DWI defense attorney Robert E. DePersia, II offers free consultations for anyone facing a DWI or other criminal charges.

If you have been arrested on suspicion of DWI, call a NJ DWI defense lawyer for a free consultation as soon as possible. Contact the Law Office of Robert E. DePersia, II at 856-795-9688 today.

Impact of A DWI on Your Employment

When you’ve been charged with a DUI or a DWI, there are likely a lot of issues on your mind, and it’s important that your employment is one of them. There are some serious DWI consequences you could face. Many individuals recently charged with a DUI can find an already difficult job market even more unmanageable once they have this record, which will come up if your employer decides to run a background check on you.

Even if it doesn’t immediately disqualify you from a position, employers who have many candidates to choose from may be hesitant to give a chance to someone who has had a DWI in the past. How can you avoid this from happening to you? Here are a few nuggets of our best insight.

Type of Employment: Some positions are inherently more likely to be affected by a DWI conviction and related DUI consequences, including those that require background checks, such as working for the government, a school, law enforcement, medical professions, or others that interact regularly with the elderly, disabled, or young people. It will be additionally negative for those who require a commercial driver’s license on the job, as having that smear on your driving record could bar you from having those positions altogether.

Post-Conviction Relief: This is a program, also known as PCR, which can be used to lessen your sentence against future charges and can be very helpful when applying for a new position. While your permanent record is indeed permanent and a DUI cannot normally be expunged from it, there are some criteria that if met can help you to qualify for PCR and a partial amnesty when sentencing or moving forward with your employment. This is a great way to lessen your DWI consequences.

Traffic Violations: In New Jersey, a DUI is a traffic violation and is not an indictable crime or disorderly person’s offense. While this doesn’t seem like much when you’re still faced with hefty fines and possible jail time, this can make a huge difference in your hiring prospects. Traffic offenses are made by most people at one point in their driving careers, and having this type of record can be treated somewhat more understandably by your current or future employers. It is important, however, to work with an experience attorney to make sure that your case can be presented in the best possible light.

Seek Legal Counsel: With a case as serious for your employment as a potential DUI conviction, whether it is your first offense or a subsequent one, it is vital to work with an experienced attorney to sort out the facts. For a free consultation about the services I offer here at the Law Office of Robert DePersia, call me today at 856-795-9866: you’ll be glad you did.

Breath Tests at School Events

It is no secret that many young people socially consume alcohol, and much speculation has been made in recent years about the binge drinking culture that exists on many college campuses. While perhaps widespread, the possession of alcohol by minors is a serious criminal issue that can result in significant sanctions. In addition, even noncriminal academic records that indicate that a student was under the influence of alcohol or had been drinking could have an impact on his or her future.

New Jersey School District Implementing Breath Tests

According to a report published by NJ.com, The School District of the Chathams approved a new policy late last year authorizing school officials to test students for alcohol use at school events. While the district has had a policy in place since 2008 allowing officials to screen every student that attends an event, the new policy allows testing of students at random or through the use of a pre-selected system, such as every 4th student entering an event.

Underage Drinking is a Serious Issue

While New Jersey does not criminalize the underage “internal possession” of alcohol (underage drinking after the consumption has occurred), it is easy to see how this type of screening policy may result in criminal liability for possession, particularly if a student was attempting to conceal alcohol on his or her person or the fact that he or she had consumed alcohol led to a search of a locker or a vehicle. Even if it does not, violation of a school policy regarding alcohol will likely generate a record that may affect a student’s chances of college admission or professional opportunities.

Public School Officials are Subject to Constitutional Limitations

Importantly, public schools are subject to the same 4th Amendment limitations with respect to searches and seizures that apply to other state actors. This is likely the reason Chatham District has tailored its school breath testing program to resemble that of a DUI checkpoint that would pass constitutional scrutiny. Because of the constitutional limitations placed on these kinds of alcohol monitoring programs, there are often legal challenges that may be able to invalidate the results of any testing and any record that may exist as a result.

Contact a New Jersey criminal defense lawyer today to discuss your legal options

If you or your child has been accused of underage drinking at a school event or in any other situation, you should contact a qualified criminal defense lawyer immediately. A conviction could easily affect an individual’s eligibility for college admission or financial aid and may even follow someone into his or her professional life. To schedule a free consultation with the Law Office of Robert E. DePersia II, call our office today at (856) 795-9688 or send us an email through our online contact form.

Basics of DWI In New Jersey

New Jersey has strict penalties and laws for driving while intoxicated, or more commonly referred to as DWI. When you make the decision to drink and drive, you risk the safety of yourself others on the road, as well as your freedom, finances, and future.

Drinking and Driving Laws

It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is over the legal limit of .08%. A BAC of .08% or above is used throughout the United States as the standard for “legally impaired.” There are lower limits for drivers under the age of 21 and drivers of commercial vehicles.

21 or older .08%
Under 21 .00%
Commercial Vehicle Drivers .04%

Penalties

In the State of New Jersey, all drunk driving convictions result in a mandatory license suspension and require participation in the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) program for 12-48 hours. Once enrolled in the IDRC, the program will advise if any additional obligations will be assessed. The severity of the penalties following a DWI conviction depends on a variety of factors.

First Offense:
• $250-$500 fine
• Up to 30 days jail time
• 3 months to 1 year suspended license
• Possible installation of Ignition Interlock Device

Second Offense:
• $500-$1,000 fine
• 90 days jail time
• 30 days community service
• 2 years suspended license
• Installation of Ignition Interlock Device

Subsequent Offenses:
• $1,000 fine
• 180 days jail time
• Attend IDRC
• 10 years suspended license
• Installation of Ignition Interlock Device

The Ignition Interlock Device is installed in the offender’s primary vehicle during the term of suspension and for 1 to 3 years following restoration. The device requires a breath sample prior to the car starting to prevent drivers from driving if their BAC is over a specified level. There is also a monthly maintenance fee required for the device which on average will cost about $75.

Refusal to Take a Chemical Test

If you are asked to take a Breathalyzer test and refuse, you will be subject to additional penalties and charges.

First offense:
• 7 months to a year license suspension
• $300-$500 Fine
• Installation of Ignition Interlock Device

Second offense:
• 2 years license suspension
• $500-$1,000 fine
• Installation of Ignition Interlock Device

Subsequent offenses:
• 10 years license suspension
• $1,000 fine
• Installation of Ignition Interlock Device

Please remember that the above noted potential penalties are those imposed by the municipal court at the time of the conviction. The State of New Jersey will also impose surcharges of $1,000 a year for three years for each conviction of DWI or refusal.

New Jersey’s strict laws and penalties regarding operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated can result in lengthy jail time, extensive fines, and loss of driving privileges. You need an experienced DWI attorney that is able to determine the best defense that will minimize penalties and obtain the best results. Attorney Robert E. DePersia has over 25 years of experience in DWI defense and has been successful in the thousands of cases he has handled. If you have been charged with DWI, call Robert E. DePersia today at (856) 795-9688.