New Alcotest Device May Face Challenges in Court
July 19, 2022
New Jersey has always been pretty strict when it comes to combating drunk driving, however, the implementation of a new device called the Drager Alcotest 9510 may lead to new challenges in the courtroom.
What is the Alcotest 9510 and Why is It Being Rolled Out?
It was recently announced that the new device, Alcotest 9510 will be placed in 34 police agencies in Monmouth County by mid-August of 2022. According to Steven Barnes, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office, the Alcotest 9510 will be replacing the Alcotest 7110, which has been used throughout New Jersey since 2005.
Now, the Alcotest 7110 has been discontinued by the manufacturer. However, it may face some legal challenges in court. Per the statement released by Barnes, “The state’s authority to update the Alcotest model was designated to the AG’s office by the Legislature, and the instrument has been authorized by the AG in the administrative code. The court’s pre-approval [regarding the Alcotest 9510] is not required.”
The Scientific Validity Behind the Alcotest Has Been Challenged Before
This is not the first time the scientific validity of the Alcotest has been questioned in court. Court battles ensued over the Alcotest 7110, back in the early 2000s, which not only took a lot of time to resolve but cost both the Attorney General’s office and defense lawyers a lot of money.
The 2008 case, Stave v. Chun, found that the Alcotest 7110 met the standard for scientific reliability, subject to various conditions, under a previous 1923 U.S. Supreme Court case, Frye v. United States. As such, anyone who wishes to object to the admission of evidence from readings from the Alcotest 9510 will be entitled to a Frye hearing, as well.
According to Evan Levow, a DUI defense lawyer in Cherry Hill, NJ, the Alcotest 7110 was scientifically unreliable. According to Levow, “the 7110 was never fixed.” Some of the most common problems breathalyzers, like the 7110, faced included the timeliness of when the test was administered, the cleanliness of the device, whether it was properly calibrated, and if the training received by the test’s administrator was sufficient.
He continued, “People have been convicted on that machine for 14 years without the ordered fixes by the Supreme Court in order to make the machine scientifically reliable.” Levow was part of a team that challenged the validity of the Alcotest 7110 and expects that the 9510 will undergo the same legal challenges in court.
Consequences of a First-Time DUI in New Jersey
As mentioned earlier, the state of New Jersey takes a stringent approach to drunk driving, so the penalties you could be facing, even for a first-time DUI, are steep.
In New Jersey, drivers who have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) between 0.08% and .010% and commit their first DUI offense could be facing:
- Fines up to $400
- Up to 30 days imprisonment
- $1,000 auto insurance surcharge for three years
- Driver’s license suspension until an ignition interlock device is installed on your vehicle, plus mandatory installation for 3 months
- Mandatory participation in an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center for at least six hours per day, for two consecutive days
First offense drivers who have a BAC between 0.10% and 0.15% may be subject to all the penalties mentioned above, with the addition of fines up to $500 and mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device for at least seven months and for up to 15 months after their driver’s license has been restored.
Contact An Experienced Trenton Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Weapons Charges In New Jersey
Were you arrested or charged with a DUI in New Jersey? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified DUI-defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. The attorneys at Aydelotte & Scardella Law LLC have successfully represented clients charged with DUI offenses in Cherry Hill, Haddon Township, Camden, and throughout New Jersey. Call 609-250-9881 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team. We have an office located at 2653 Nottingham Way, Suite 1 Hamilton, NJ 08619, in addition to offices located in Haddon Heights.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.