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Former State Prosecutor and Criminal Trial Attorney

Former State Prosecutor

Former Atlantic County Prosecutor

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Experienced for over 30 years

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The Alcotest Machine

Taking a Breath Test on Suspicion of Drunk Driving in NJ

If you have been pulled over and arrested on suspicion of drunk driving in New Jersey, the police probably asked you to take a breath test on the Alcotest machine. This machine measures the amount of alcohol in your breath sample, which equates to the level of alcohol in your bloodstream (your blood alcohol content, or BAC).

I am John W. Tumelty, an experienced Atlantic County DWI defense lawyer and former prosecutor representing clients from Atlantic City to Cape May. If you’ve been charged with DUI/DWI based on a breath test result, contact me today for a free consultation.

How Reliable Are Your Breath Test Results?

The Alcotest machine is the breath test unit manufactured by Dräger, the company that previously made the well-known Breathalyzer machine. All New Jersey police departments use the Alcotest to measure the BAC of people suspected of DWI.

The Alcotest machine uses two independent and different measuring systems with the aim of increasing the accuracy of the breath test. An infrared optical sensor and a battery cell sensor quantify BAC. The dual sensor system only senses alcohol and is advertised to be nonsusceptible to any other substances on the breath.

If the police ask you to take the Alcotest, you are required to do so. Otherwise, you can be charged with breath test refusal, which is separate from a DWI charge. But no breath test is foolproof. If any one of the following statements applies to your case, it may be possible to discredit your Alcotest results:

  • The machine has only recently been returned to service after repairs.
  • The machine has not been inspected, tested and calibrated recently enough.
  • The officer who gave you the test has not received the proper training and certification.
  • The officer’s Alcotest certification has expired.
  • A problem exists with the simulator solution.
  • A problem exists with the calibration certificates.
  • The officer did not perform the test properly.
  • You have diabetes or another medical condition that can throw off the test results.
  • Your body temperature was elevated at the time you took the test.
  • You wear dentures or have bridgework or crowns that can trap alcohol.

Every Alcotest device used in New Jersey has a unique serial number that can be used to obtain its full history. Every time I handle a DWI case involving breath test results, I carefully examine the history of the machine and all other factors that may have impacted the results.

Experienced and knowledgeable DWI defense attorney advice is the only way to ensure you are provided with the full defense necessary to protect your rights and your driver’s license.

Contact a Thorough South Jersey DWI Attorney Today

Call me today at 609-390-4600 to discuss your case or schedule a free initial consultation. I can be reached 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

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