The device currently used in New Jersey to test breath samples for blood alcohol concentration is the Drager Alcotest 7110 Evidential. When a motorist is stopped and subsequently arrested on suspicion of DWI, they are customarily requested to provide a breath sample as required by law. If the individual refuses to submit a breath sample, he or she is charge with refusal. If they submit to the test, however, the Alcotest is supposed to provide a valid blood alcohol concentration (“BAC”) that determines whether or not they were operating above the legal limit of .08%. This article is intended to provide you with important information concerning admissibility of the Alcotest, including proper protocol for securing a valid breath sample. Several attorneys at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall are certified by Drager on the Alcotest so they are well versed on what is necessary in order for breath test readings to be admissible in a DWI case. A lawyer in available to discuss the specifics of your case in Hamilton, Lawrence, East Windsor, Trenton or Ewing and how we can mount an effective attack on the test results against you. Contact us at 609–683–8102 to speak to an attorney immediately without obligation.Basics Of How The Alcotest Works
The Alcotest is calibrated to produce a valid BAC reading using simulator solution. This solution has an alcohol concentration of .04%, .08% and .16%. These solutions are injected into the device periodically in order to test its accuracy. If the Alcotest records results consistent with alcohol concentration in the simulator solution, the machine is in working order and is put into operation. When the Alcotest is put into action on a motorist, a simulator solution with a concentration of .10% is attached to the machine. Before a sample can be taken, the machine must utilize the simulator solution to run a “control test” to insure that the devise is again working properly by producing a valid reading. If the control test comes back at .10% or within permitted tolerance, the target of the police is then asked to blow into the machine. Two valid readings must be taken from a motorist.Common Defenses To Introduction of Alcotest Readings in a DWI Case
There are certain defenses that are reoccurring in DWI cases when it comes to admissibility of breath test readings taken from the Alcotest. The headings below below these areas of potential attack:
- Failure To Adhere To The Twenty Minute Observation Requirement. The manufacturer’s guidelines for proper operation of the Alcotest require that the subject be observed for twenty-minutes uninterrupted. The reason for this requirement is to insure that the mouth cavity is clear from contamination. If the police officer leaves the room or otherwise fails to maintain constant observation, he or she cannot demonstrate that there was no gird, burp or other foreign matter that compromised the breath cavity and resulting test sample.
- Credentials of the Operator Incomplete. The police officer operating the Alcotest must have proper training and an up-to-date re-certification card in order for the Alcotest breath readings to be admissible.
- Machine Is Not In Working Order. The Alcotest not only produces a detailed Alcohol Influence Report (“AIR”) but also tracks historical data for proper operation of the particular machine. Proper analysis of the AIR and digital data for the machine can reveal that the device was not in proper working order and, hence, the readings invalid.
- Two Minute Lock Out Not Achieved. The Alcotest must perform a lockout of at least two minutes in between the two readings taken of the subject. The purpose of this lockout is to allow the machine to purge the chamber, referred to as the cuvette, so that the sample taken in the second test is that is free from any breath or residue from the first sample. If the Alcotest fails to comply with the two minute lockout, the result reading is invalid and inadmissible.
- Inadequate Foundational Documentation. There are various “foundational documents” that must be provided by the prosecution to establish that the machine was properly registered, put into initial service and was in proper working order as manifested by documents showing that the device was working properly. If the state is unable to provide the related documentation, the readings taken on the Alcotest are not admissible.
The defense lawyers in our Hamilton Office are not only former DWI prosecutors who possess over a century of experience but are also certified to operate the Alcotest. What this means is that they have a level of training on breathalyzer that is at least as extensive of a police officer and, in most cases, more thorough. Our attorneys use this training and working knowledge to suppress (i.e. eliminate) breath test readings in Ewing, Robbinsville, West Windsor, Highstown, Hamilton and other municipal courts in Mercer County. If you would like to speak to an attorney on our team immediately, contact us at 609–683–8102.
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