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Common drunk driving defense strategies for New Jersey drivers

When a driver is stopped on suspicion of drunk driving, the police officer administers one or more tests to determine if intoxication is present. A blood alcohol concentration at or above .08 percent is the legal benchmark for impairment. If the police sobriety tests indicate impairment, the results will be recorded as evidence against the driver.

The breath test is commonly used to gather evidence of intoxication. The driver is told to breathe into a tube, and the device measures the alcohol vapors in the exhalation. Another type of assessment is called the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test. While administering this exam, the officer makes judgments about the driver's eye movements. A blood test might also be imposed after the driver has been arrested.

The evidence gathered by police, however, is not beyond question. A lawyer defending a client facing drunk driving charges may be able to argue that the results from a breath test, field sobriety test or blood test are not valid. Problems with the calibration of the testing equipment or training of the officer administering the tests can all cause the evidence to be discarded.

Another approach argues that the person should not have been stopped by police at all. Called an improper stop, the defense hinges on the possibility that there was no probable cause for the police to interfere with the driver in the first place.

In New Jersey, heavy fines, loss of license and jail time are all possible penalties when a person is convicted of drunk driving. A person facing these charges may benefit from consulting a lawyer. The evidence might be open to challenge, which means the person may have a chance of defending their driving record.

Source: FindLaw, "Defenses to Drunk Driving," Accessed Feb. 6, 2015

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