Prosecutors in New Jersey generally need strong evidence to develop a criminal case. Even seemingly straightforward infractions, like driving under the influence (DUI) charges, can occur because of a misunderstanding.
Therefore, the state needs evidence that proves beyond a reasonable doubt that someone broke the law. Meeting that standard during a trial can be quite challenging, and police officers interacting with someone on the side of the road will often go to great lengths to collect what the prosecutor might need to prevail in court. The state generally relies on the following types of evidence to develop DUI charges in New Jersey.
Chemical test results
Police officers often ask people to perform chemical breath tests as a way to prove that someone is over the legal limit for their blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Although people often think of such tests as irrefutable evidence of intoxication, there is plenty of reason to question the accuracy of such test results. For example, there are a host of different factors that can lead to false positives or elevated test results. Raising questions about the accuracy of breath testing in general or a specific situation could help someone avoid a conviction.
Field sobriety test results
Often, police officers can only ask for a breath test when they have probable cause already established. Field sobriety tests are away for them so they had probable cause to believe someone was under the influence. Asking an individual to perform a series of tasks testing their mental acuity and coordination could help an officer establish a likelihood of impairment. However, there are many reasons why people might fail a breath test other than intoxication.
Dashboard camera footage
Often, impaired driving traffic stops occur because a police officer sees someone do something unsafe while at the wheel. They swerve over the center line, drive at inappropriately low speeds or react to something that the officer cannot see. Defendants accused of impairment at the wheel may, therefore, benefit from providing a reasonable explanation for what may have seemed like intoxication to the officer who arrested them.
Ultimately, reviewing the evidence that the state has collected with the assistance of a skilled attorney can be a very important step for those hoping to avoid a conviction for a DUI offense in New Jersey.