When you get pulled over on suspicion of DUI, you are required to take a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test under New Jersey’s “implied consent” law. But this law also gives you the right to obtain an independent test of your BAC. So, should you ask for an independent BAC test after a DUI arrest? Here are some key factors to consider:
Obtaining an Independent BAC Test Can Help With Your DUI Defense
While there are several ways to challenge the validity of a police BAC test in New Jersey, being able to present an independent BAC reading can be a highly effective way to raise doubt about your guilt. For example, with an independent BAC test result, you may be able to:
1. Raise Questions About the Accuracy of Your Police’s BAC Test
In many cases, defending against a DUI charge involves questioning whether the police’s BAC test was accurate and valid. Was the breathalyzer device properly maintained and calibrated? Did the arresting officer administer the test appropriately? Could there be an alternate explanation for your high BAC? Presenting an independent BAC reading can raise additional questions about your BAC reading in the field.
2. Present Evidence that Conflicts with the Prosecution’s Evidence
If your independent BAC test shows that your blood alcohol concentration was not above the legal limit, which test should the judge trust? Even if the judge does not take your independent BAC test at face value, presenting an alternate reading could still create enough doubt to avoid a conviction.
3. Support What You Told the Arresting Officer
If you told your arresting officer that you had not been drinking, your independent BAC test could support your story. The more evidence you can put on your side, the greater your chances of avoiding a conviction at trial.
Asking for (and Being Denied) an Independent BAC Test Can Also Help with Your Defense
When you ask for an independent BAC test during a DUI traffic stop, the arresting officer should comply with your request. Police officers in New Jersey are familiar with the state’s “implied consent” law, and they know you have the right to get tested by a doctor of your choosing.
But, if the arresting officer doesn’t comply with your request, this could potentially help with your defense as well. The police cannot deny you your rights; and, if they do, you are entitled to raise the issue in court.
What are the risks of requesting an independent BAC test? The biggest risk is that your independent test will confirm that your BAC was above the legal limit. But, if this happens, your defense attorney may be able to raise questions regarding the accuracy of your independent test while also challenging the arresting officer’s BAC reading.
Discuss Your Case With a New Jersey DUI Defense Attorney
The New Jersey DUI defense attorneys at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. provide experienced legal representation for individuals facing all types of DUI charges. To discuss your case in confidence, call 877-435-6371 or request an initial consultation online now.
Over 20 attorneys at HCK have extensive experience in defending DUI cases as they were former assistant prosecutors and/or police officers for a combined total of over 600 years of law enforcement experience. You can find out more about them on our site, and you can call Managing Partner Ron Helmer on his cell phone at 609 685-0665.