How to Fight a DUI Charge in NJ

Choose Attorneys Who Have a Track Record of Success

The penalties for DUI in New Jersey are severe and can have a serious impact on a person's personal, professional and family life. Due to the serious nature of a DWI charge and the intricacies involved in the administration of a breathalyzer, the New Jersey legislature and courts have enacted strict laws and procedures which must be followed during the course of any DUI arrest. When an officer fails to adhere to these laws and procedures, the Union County DUI attorneys at Schiller & Pittenger, P.C. will set in motion the proper motions and trial tactics in order to have a DUI charge dismissed.

In addition to these "errors" by police, there are also several ways in which an attorney with trial experience and effective cross-examination techniques can employ to help you avoid a DUI and/or Refusal conviction. This article will address some of the many ways the NJ DUI attorneys at Schiller & Pittenger, P.C. have successfully fought DUI charges.

The Best Defenses for Your DUI Charge

  1. Probable Cause for the Motor Vehicle Stop
    The first piece of the puzzle that must fall into place for any DUI charge to hold weight is that there must be probable cause for the motor vehicle stop. Probable cause can consist of a variety of situations. It essentially means that the police must have some legitimate and legal reason to pull you over.
    Instances that qualify as sufficient probable cause include motor vehicle violations and/or if an officer observes you operating your vehicle in a manner which gives him "reasonable suspicion" that you are under the influence of alcohol or intoxicating drugs. If the police reports show that an officer did not have probable cause to initiate the motor vehicle stop in your case, that in itself is grounds to avoid a DUI conviction.
  2. Roadside Field Sobriety Tests
    After a proper motor vehicle stop has taken place, and a police officer makes observations that he believes to be consistent with an individual being "under the influence," he or she will most likely ask that person to perform a series of roadside field sobriety tests (FSTs). There are three standardized tests that an officer can choose to administer, including:
    • (i) the one leg stand test;
    • (ii) the horizontal gaze nystagmus test;
    • and (iii) the walk and turn test
    There are also a series of non-standardized tests that an officer may use including: (i) counting backwards, (ii) reciting portions of the alphabet, and (iii) the finger to nose test.
    In some municipalities, a police officer's vehicle is equipped with a motor vehicle recording system (MVR) which records audio and video. In towns with MVRs, officers are instructed to have an individual suspected of DUI to perform the FSTs in front of the video camera.
    Our attorneys have challenged the administration of the roadside tests, the instructions given, and the suspected person's performance in the FSTs through effective and aggressive cross-examination at trial. New Jersey case law sets forth certain requirements for these tests and the way they are administered. If we determine that there was an error or that you passed these tests, we will tailor the necessary defense.
  3. Alcotest Reliability & Procedures
    Generally speaking, when relying on a breath test to get a conviction for drunk driving, the prosecution must prove that the Alcotest was in good working order and that the operator of the device was appropriately qualified to administer the test. This requires that any tests results must be supported by specific foundational documents in order for the test results to be admissible.
    As per Romano v. Kimmleman, 96 NJ 66 (1984) the State is required to establish that

    • (1) the device was in working order,
    • (2) the device had been inspected according to procedure,
    • (3) the operator was certified, and
    • (4) the test was administered according to official procedure.
    If and when we determine that the State does not possess the necessary evidence to sustain a DUI conviction under this standard, our attorney will prepare for trial in order have the DUI charge dismissed.
  4. The 20 Minute Observation Period
    Due to the flaws associated with the Alcotest, the New Jersey courts have enacted law that requires police officers involved in the arrest or administration of the breath test to observe an individual for twenty minutes at the police station prior to administering the Alcotest.
    If the police reports do not indicate a 20 minute observation period took place, we can take the rights steps to beat the DUI charge. There are several nuisances associated with this law so a careful analysis of the facts of a specific case must be undertaken to determine whether this defense will be successful.

Contact Our Experienced Union County DUI Lawyers

These are only a few of the ways in which our attorneys can and have successfully challenged and beaten DUI charges for our clients. We determine DUI defenses on a case by case basis. To learn about more defenses and ways to beat a DUI charge, contact us today.