Since a Supreme Court ruling in 2008, breath tests have been admissible in court as proof of a driver’s impairment in a DWI case. However, certain criteria must be met in administering these tests for the results to be considered valid evidence. It is these criteria that are the basis of a federal class action lawsuit that could result in more than 20,000 New Jersey DWI convictions being overturned.
For the results of a breath test to be admissible in court, the device used to measure a suspect’s blood alcohol content (BAC) must be in working order and appropriately inspected at the time of the test; the person administering the test must be a certified operator; and the test must be administered according to procedure.
The lawsuit, which was filed in federal district court in New Jersey last month, claims that a New Jersey State Police sergeant failed to properly recalibrate devices that potentially were used to administer breath tests in more than 20,000 DWI cases in five different counties throughout New Jersey. In addition to unspecified damages and court costs, the suit seeks to have a review of all DWI cases that may have involved the sergeant in order to determine if any of the convictions should be reversed. To learn more, read “20,000 DWI cases called into question in NJ: Is yours one of them?”