New Jersey DWI Offense Elements
New Jersey DWI / DUI arrests can be prosecuted under two different theories – driving while impaired, which focuses on the motorist’s mental and physical ability to operate a motor vehicle, and violation of the state’s “per se” laws, which concentrates on whether the driver had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or greater.
A prosecutor needs to prove just one of the two elements in order to convict a motorist of drunk driving. Regardless of how the prosecutor elects to prove his or her case, it’s critical to have an experienced New Jersey DWI / DUI defense lawyer protecting the accused driver’s rights.
“Under the influence” is often defined as having physical or mental abilities that are impaired to such a degree that the motorist is unable to drive a vehicle with the caution characteristic of a sober person. The allegation of driving while impaired is complex, and is typically proven through circumstantial evidence such as the driver’s field sobriety test results, driving behavior, and overall interaction with the police officer. However, evidence of a driver’s impairment can be effectively challenged by a skilled NJ DWI defense attorney.
The accusation of having a BAC of 0.08 percent or greater – often referred to as the “per se” charge – means that regardless of how the alcohol affects you individually, if you have a BAC of 0.08% or greater, you will be prosecuted for DWI / DUI in New Jersey and all states. The prosecutor will try to prove this allegation by introducing the results of a chemical test of the blood, breath, or urine. However, even though police and prosecutors believe that this evidence is solid proof of DWI / DUI, chemical test results can be successfully challenged in court.
The procedures used to analyze a driver’s blood, breath or urine to determine alcohol levels is far from foolproof. A skilled New Jersey DWI lawyer at Levow & Associates will thoroughly review a driver’s chemical test results to determine how to challenge the breath, blood or urine testing. There are many specific procedures that can be challenged for each test. No test is a foregone conclusion that a driver will be convicted of a NJ DWI / DUI. Not following testing and collection protocol, and contaminated samples are two common examples of reasons to seek suppression or dismissal of chemical test results.
Circumstantial evidence of intoxication also can be aggressively attacked. Field sobriety tests, which supposedly measure physical and mental impairment from alcohol intoxication, are notoriously subjective, and the results can just as easily be used to prove that the driver wasn’t impaired. Other observations made by the arresting officer, such as signs of alcohol intoxication, can also be questioned during an effective cross-examination.
Remember, prosecutors have the burden of proving their cases beyond a reasonable doubt. If the defendant and the New Jersey DWI / DUI defense attorney can demonstrate enough problems with the state’s case, the charges can be dismissed. If there is reasonable doubt, the accused driver must be found not guilty. The requirement of proof beyond a reasonable doubt is the foundation of our justice system.
It is possible to fight and win against a New Jersey DWI prosecution. A Levow & associates New Jersey DWI defense attorney who is truly skilled in DWI / DUI defense will thoroughly review every piece of evidence in your DWI case and work to develop a defense strategy designed to create reasonable doubt.