How can someone charged with drunk driving in New Jersey beat the charge and keep their driver’s license? Unfortunately, most do not. The reality is that there are a lot of politics behind New Jersey DWI laws. It seems that every year the legislature adds new, sometimes draconian, penalties for DUI convictions.
However, a skilled NJ DWI defense attorney may be able to find ways to beat a New Jersey DWI arrest. There are some defenses that can be raised based on issues that may have occurred before your arrests.
5 Possible DWI Arrest Defenses
The police did not have a valid reason to stop your vehicle in the first place.
In order to pull your car over, the police must have what is known as “reasonable suspicion.” That you have broken a traffic or criminal law. If the police pulled you over for no good reason and later conducted sobriety tests or breath testing on you, those tests may be thrown out.
After pulling you over, the police did not have enough evidence to warrant detaining you and conducting sobriety tests.
This is a great issue, but it sometimes gets looked over. Even if you are pulled over for a valid reason this does not give police the right to automatically detain you for sobriety testing. Rather, they still must have reasonable suspicion that you are driving under the influence. This can be the smell of alcohol, slurred speech, etc.
There was no probable cause to arrest you for drunk driving.
If, after conducting a valid motor vehicle stop, finding reasonable suspicion to conduct sobriety tests, and then conducting these tests, the officer reasonably believes they have probable cause to arrest you, they will place you under arrest for drunk driving. These tests all have weaknesses and may be challenged. If your DWI defense attorney can convince the judge that there was not enough evidence to support probable cause, the results of any breathalyzer or alcotest testing may be thrown out.
The police cannot prove that you intended to operate or drove the vehicle in the first place.
While this may seem obvious, some of these cases are close calls. In one published case, a patron stumbled out of a bar, walked over to her care, got inside and put the keys into the ignition. Her DWI conviction was affirmed on appeal. However, we have had success in defending DUI arrests on this issue. These issues are very fact-sensitive.
The police cannot prove that you actually operated the vehicle.
In order for you to be convicted of a New Jersey DWI, the police must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you drove the vehicle. In some cases, the defendant flees before the police can respond to an accident. If there is a long gap in time between the alleged operation and the time when the defendant is caught, this may be used to beat the DWI case. The longer the time, the stronger the defense. It hurts though if the case is in a rural area. Better to be in an urban area where there are bars and liquor stores where it is possible for the drinking to have later taken place. See also the so-called “glove-box” cases.