Thousands of cases involving driving while intoxicated (DWI) in New Jersey rely on the results of breath tests to prove that a driver had a blood alcohol content (BAC) level over the legal limit of 0.08 percent. Breath tests are normally conducted roadside at a traffic stop using portable Alcotest devices (the device used by law enforcement in NJ). These devices must be properly inspected and calibrated according to specific procedures to ensure they register accurate results. An uncalibrated Alcotest device could misread a person’s BAC to be higher than it actually is and could result in a wrongful conviction for DWI.
Police Sergeant Charged with Tampering
Police Sgt. Marc Dennis regularly calibrated Alcotest devices as part of his job in the State Police Alcohol Drug Testing Unit (ADTU). His supervisor noticed that Dennis did not complete a required step in the calibration process, which involved using a digital thermometer to check the temperature of liquid solutions prior to calibration. This step is required by the procedures set out by NJ forensic scientists working for the police. Despite skipping this important step, Dennis marked the calibration process as complete for the devices. Sgt. Dennis now faces criminal charges of falsifying and tampering with records and has been suspended with no pay.
While Dennis was only just witnessed deliberately skipping this part of the calibration process with a few devices, he has been calibrating Alcotest devices for seven years for several different New Jersey counties, including Somerset, Monmouth, Union, Ocean, and Middlesex. This could mean that over 20,000 DWI cases may have been affected if he tampered with records in those cases, as well.
Defense attorneys representing clients facing DWI charges should always examine whether a breath test were administered correctly, whether the device was calibrated, or whether any other errors were made that may result in an inaccurate BAC reading. This is only one of many ways your attorney may be able to defend against your DWI charges.
Call 732-662-7658 today for a free consultation
At the Law Offices of Leon Matchin, we stay apprised of any reported tampering or misconduct by law enforcement officers that may affect your DWI case. We also closely examine the circumstances of your arrest and any breath or blood testing that took place to identify any possible violations of your rights or other applicable defenses in your case. If you have been arrested, please call our office today for help.