5 Defenses if You Failed the Breathalyzer Test in New Jersey
Posted by Scott Gorman - November 16, 2021

A few months ago, we published an article titled, 5 Defenses if You Failed the Field Sobriety Tests New Jersey. Today, we’re talking about ways a Morristown DUI lawyer may be able to fight your drunk driving charge if you failed the breathalyzer.

Breathalyzer test results can be strong evidence of guilt in a Morristown DUI case. In New Jersey, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above the legal limit—and this is true regardless of whether your BAC impairs your ability to drive.

Can You Challenge Your Breathalyzer Test Results?

The good news is there are several potential ways to challenge breathalyzer test results under New Jersey law. Here are five examples of defenses a Morristown DUI lawyer may be able to assert on your behalf:

1. Lack of “Reasonable Grounds”

Under New Jersey’s implied consent law, a police officer can only require a driver to take a breathalyzer test if the officer “has reasonable grounds to believe that such [driver] has been operating a motor vehicle [while intoxicated].” Therefore, if your arresting officer lacked “reasonable grounds” to invoke New Jersey’s implied consent law, then your breathalyzer test results may be inadmissible in court.

2. Improper Calibration of the Breathalyzer Device

Breathalyzer devices require careful calibration to provide accurate results. If the calibration records for the device used during your DUI stop show that the device had not been properly calibrated (or if there are no records to be found), then the prosecutor’s office may not be able to use your test results to prove that your BAC was above the legal limit.

3. Improper Administration of the Breathalyzer Test

In addition to proper calibration, breathalyzer tests also require proper administration. If the police officer who administered your test failed to follow the requisite protocols, this could render your test results unreliable as well. Some examples of common breathalyzer test administration errors include:

  • Not waiting 20 full minutes to administer the test
  • Failing to supervise you during the entire 20-minute waiting period
  • Failing to replace the mouthpiece on the breathalyzer device
  • Failing to provide appropriate instructions for taking the test

4. False Positive

Even with proper calibration and administration, it is still possible for a breathalyzer device to return a “false positive.” In fact, there are numerous issues that can result in a falsely-elevated BAC reading. Some examples of these issues include:

  • Eating certain foods
  • Having certain medical conditions
  • Taking certain types of medications
  • Using mouthwash
  • Vomiting before taking the test

5. Constitutional Violations

When conducting DUI stops, the police must respect drivers’ constitutional rights. If the police stopped you without reasonable suspicion or arrested you without probable cause, this could also render your breathalyzer test results inadmissible in court.

Talk to Morristown DUI Lawyer Scott Gorman for Free

If you are facing a DUI charge, it is extremely important to defend yourself by all means available. To discuss your defense strategy with Morristown DUI lawyer Scott Gorman in confidence, call 973-796-3800 or request a free consultation online now.

Published in Categories: DUI / DWI