Can I be Found Guilty of DWI in NJ Based on a Failed Road Side Sobriety Test?
The first thing many of my DWI clients ask me is whether the State can prosecute a DWI based solely on an officer finding that an individual failed a Road Side Sobriety Test. In New Jersey, the State must prove that an individual was Driving While Intoxicated beyond a reasonable doubt. However, the State does not always need a failed Breathalyzer or Alcotest to meet this burden. The State can meet their burden by objectively proving that an individual’s physical coordination or mental faculties are impaired. In one case, the Supreme Court of New Jersey found that the defendant’s admission that he consumed a considerable amount of alcohol combined with the police officer’s observations that the defendant was intoxicated was enough to sustain a charge of DWI.
In another case, the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division found that a conviction for DWI can be sustained based solely on the police officer’s observation that the defendant smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech and displayed slowed hand movements. Given the weight that Road Side Sobriety Tests can have in a DWI prosecution it is imperative that a New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney or New Jersey DWI Attorney review and analyze the evidence against an individual charged with DWI to ensure that the arresting officers followed correct protocol.
Quite often the arresting officers fail to administer Road Side Sobriety Tests as they are trained to do. Other times the arresting officers fail to take additional factors into consideration like weather, type of footwear the individual was wearing, medical reasons and other relevant factors. It is critical that these factors are brought to the prosecution’s attention in all DWI cases. If you or a loved one have been charged with DWI feel free to call New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney and New Jersey DWI Attorney Joel Silberman for a free consultation. *The information contained herein does not constitute legal advice nor form an attorney-client relationship. The contents contained herein are intended for informational purposes only.