Defense of New Jersey
DWI and Criminal Cases

DWI Laws in New Jersey

Which Instrument Were You Tested?

Except for certain circumstances wherein a driver is taken to a hospital or any medical facility, a driver is most often taken to a local police station after arrest. There the driver will be asked to provide breath samples by blowing into an instrument. Remembering as much as you can about when you were tested can help you when you consult a DWI attorney later. Good DWI attorneys know that a defense strategy can greatly depend on the instrument used and the conduct of the police during testing. Whatever the instrument used when you were tested, try to remember your BrAC (reading). That information would also help when you consult a DWI attorney.

An Old Machine: Breathalyzer

Two different instruments are currently used in New Jersey. One is called a "Breathalyzer", which is an old machine and has been used in New Jersey since at least 1966. This machine accepts a suspect's breath until the police officer instructs to stop blowing. There is a pointer on the machine and when the defendant stops blowing, the police officer determines by a mechanical thumb wheel where the arrow points on the breath (blood) alcohol scale. There is no independent record of the test result other than what the police officer writes down. The Breathalyzer has been called the "Dial-a-Drunk" by both the police and by an executive of a manufacturer of the machine. The Breathalyzer is an orphaned technology. No company has manufactured Breathalyzer parts or units since 1983. That is how this machine measures defendant's BrAC. It is quite a simple instrument.

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A New Machine in New Jersey: Alcotest 7110 MKIII-C

Another type of machine is the "Alcotest 7110 MKIII-C", referred to as "Alcotest 7110" which is a new instrument introduced in New Jersey in 2005. This instrument was manufactured by a subsidiary of a German-based company, Dräger Safety Diagnostics, Inc. Unlike the Breathalyzer, an Alcotest 7110 has a keyboard attached to the instrument. If you were tested on this machine, the police officer typed your basic information such as your name, age, gender, and driver's license number before your attempt. You probably saw the display saying "PLEASE BLOW >>>" before you started blowing into the machine. This is a newly introduced alcohol detection instrument used in New Jersey and not all counties or townships have this machine. As I will explain in "State v. Chun, et al." section, seven DWI defense attorneys are fighting issues regarding the scientific reliability of this instrument. Excepting "Chun" attorneys, including myself, most attorneys may not know much about this machine since the issues are in litigation. This is a landmark DWI case in New Jersey DWI history, and I created the defense strategy to lead the defense team.

An Alcotest 7110 is equipped with custom-tailored computer programs and measures a subject's BrAC in two ways. Two different technologies are used to measure BrAC: Infrared Measurement (IR) and Electrochemical Sensor (EC). IR detects alcohol in the region of the IR spectrum while EC is activated once ethanol reaches the sensor. Both IR and EC results are shown on a paper record and are used to prosecute defendants. The minimum required volume and duration for an accepted breath sample for an Alcotest 7110 are 1.5 liters and 4.5 seconds, respectively. In addition to those conditions, there is a minimum requirement of flow rate, which is set at 2.5 liters per minute. If one of these conditions is not satisfied, a subject's breath sample is rejected, showing an error message. Then the subject will be told to submit another breath sample. There are other conditions that need to be satisfied in addition to the conditions mentioned above, which I have used to build defenses for my clients.

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