In a DWI prosecution under N.J.S.A. 39:4–50 and 39:4-50(a) police must observe an individual uninterrupted for 20 minutes. As simple as it may seem to observe an individual for an uninterrupted period of 20 minutes, it is frequently the case that the State has a hard time establishing that this procedural requirement was met. Our attorneys have on multiple occasions been able to prove that the twenty-minute observation period was broken and the results of the Alcotest, commonly referred to as the breathalyzer, have as result been suppressed.
In New Jersey if you’re arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated (DWI) there are certain procedural safeguards that must be obeyed by law enforcement. One of the most essential safeguards in DWI defense as dictated by the New Jersey Supreme Court is that law enforcement must observe you for 20 minutes before a Alcotest, commonly referred to as a Breathalyzer, can be administered.
Law enforcement operating the Alcotest must wait 20 minutes to ensure no outside samples interfere with the performance of the test and provide overestimated readings. As stated by the New Jersey Supreme Court in State v. Chun, if the arrestee swallows anything or regurgitates, or if the operator notices chewing gum or tobacco in the person’s mouth, the operator is required to begin counting the twenty-minute period anew. State v. Chun, 194 N.J. 54 (N.J. 2008).