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DUI Defenses in New Jersey

Although a DUI charge may seem hopeless, there are some defenses that can be raised to challenge your charges. You may choose to challenge factors such as your DUI arrest, your questioning, your Breathalyzer test or blood alcohol test, and/or the testimony of your arresting officer.

The Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and requires a police officer to have probable cause to search and seize any of your possessions. When you are arrested after suspicion of drunk driving, that is considered a seizure. If the police officer did not have probable cause to arrest you, you may challenge the DUI arrest. There may be several reasons a police officer lacks probable cause to arrest you: if you are stopped because of your race, ethnicity or because you are a member of another protected suspect class, if you are randomly stopped or if the police received an anonymous tip that can’t be verified etc. Thus, there may be ways to combat your DUI arrest.

It also may be appropriate for you to challenge your questioning. Police officers must read you your Miranda rights (you have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you, and you are entitle to an attorney) upon making an arrest. If a police officer failed to read you your rights, your attorney might be able to move to suppress any evidence that was obtained in violation of your Miranda rights.

You may also be able to fight the results of your blood alcohol or Breathalyzer test. In New Jersey, you are allowed to have a physician of your choice take your blood, and if the police deny you this right, you might be able to combat your DUI charges. You might also argue that the results of your blood test are inaccurate and employ an expert witness who can dispute the results of the test, the qualifications of the personnel doing the testing, call into question the maintenance and functionality of the breathalyzers or other testing equipment, or contest the process used to obtain, seal and store the evidence.

Many DUI cases rely heavily on the testimony of the arresting officer regarding how the suspect was driving as well as the suspect’s appearance and behavior when questioned.  The police officer might testify that the suspect was driving at very low speeds, uneven speeds, running a red light, had slurred speech, bloodshot eyes etc. Your attorney may cross examine the arresting officer and challenge the accuracy of his statements. Further, your attorney may come up with defenses to the police officers observations that have nothing to do with driving under the influence: lack of sleep, physical impairments, nervousness etc. might explain the police officers observations and do not point to being impaired due to alcohol.

Lastly, if you cannot completely dismiss your case, your attorney may still be able to enter a plea bargain on your behalf to limit your penalties.


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