New Jersey DWI/DUI Defense Lawyers
“Failing” a breath test, field sobriety test or blood test does not make conviction on DWI or DUI charges a foregone conclusion.
But choosing not to hire a DWI defense attorney after you have failed one of those tests is definitely not a smart move.
Tough DWI Laws and Penalties: Demand an Equally Tough Defense
Hagner & Zohlman, LLC is committed to protecting clients from aggressive prosecution and careless police conduct, especially in instances where unreliable field sobriety tests and driving patterns are used as proof of guilt. If you, your spouse, or a son or daughter has recently been arrested and charged with a DWI in South Jersey or Philadelphia, call or e-mail our lawyers to learn more about how we can protect their rights or your own.
Breath Test Machines
After numerous court challenges, the appointment of a Special Master and two somewhat contradictory Special Master’s reports – the New Jersey Supreme Court, on March 17, 2008, approved the scientific reliability of the Alcotest 7100 MK III-C breath test machine. This ruling cleared the way for district attorneys statewide to resume, in earnest, the more than 10,000 DWI prosecutions that had been put on hold since the controversy began.
While this decision eliminates one possible defense option, our lawyers have had excellent success in challenging Breathalyzer and Alcotest machine results on various other grounds. If a machine had not been maintained or calibrated properly, that is a defense. If the officer who administered the test had not been certified on the use of the machine, that is a defense. If the arresting officers did not follow the required procedures, including a 20 minute observation period before giving the test – that could provide a defense as well.
Field Sobriety Tests
Field sobriety tests such as the horizontal gaze nystagmus (pen test), the one-leg stand and the walk-and-turn test are not a reliable indicator of “drunk driving” for several reasons. Indeed, many factors – including nervousness or physical impairments – can have an enormous effect on the results. The tests themselves are routinely given in an improper way as well. In any such case, the resulting evidence can be suppressed.
We are familiar with several sentencing alternatives that may help you avoid some of the severe penalties associated with a drunk driving conviction.
Did the officers have “probable cause” for the traffic stop? Were your Miranda rights observed? The police power of the state is limited. Your constitutional rights must be respected by law enforcement. Our firm has successfully challenged many DWI cases on constitutional grounds.
If we are unable to secure a dismissal of the DWI charges, we focus our extensive experience, knowledge of the law and defense efforts towards negotiating a favorable plea arrangement, which might include sentencing alternatives, lesser penalties or the dismissal of related charges. For example, reducing a DWI charge down to reckless driving or careless driving could mean the difference between being able to drive yourself to work and having to find a new job.