The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office has come under scrutiny after recently requesting that the Supreme Court name a special master to consider relaxing the rules for calibrating New Jersey’s Alcotest 7110 MKIII-c breath-testing devices.
The Attorney General’s request has received lots of attention lately after award-winning DUI defense attorney, Evan Levow, Esq., and several other highly-respected individuals in the DUI community have criticized the request.
“It's time to reclaim intellectual honesty and scrap the Alcotest in New Jersey. No special master is required," said Evan M. Levow, Esq. in response to the news.
Evan represented the lead plaintiff in the State v. Chun case which set the standards for the use of the Alcotest 7110 MKIII-c device in New Jersey. During the trial, which lasted over 3 years, Evan spent time studying and testing the Alcotest 7110 MKIII-c extensively. His involvement in the State v. Chun case gives him a unique perspective into New Jersey’s DWI laws and the use of Alcotest devices.
The Alcotest 7110 MKIII-c is a device used to estimate the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of individuals suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol in the State of New Jersey.
The Supreme Court case State v. Chun (regarded as the biggest DWI-related case in New Jersey history) addressed the scientific reliability of the Alcotest 7110 MKIII-C and set the standards for the machine’s use in the State of New Jersey.
The landmark decision in 2008 ultimately determined, among many other things, that it was necessary to test and calibrate all Alcotest devices for accuracy every six months.
The decision also set forth the official process for testing and calibrating Alcotest devices in New Jersey. Part of the testing and calibration process involves the use of thermometers that are compliant with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
However, the Attorney General’s Office is asking the court to eliminate the rule that requires NIST-compliant thermometers to be used when calibrating the Alcotest 7110 MKIII-c device.
The state claims that "the use of the thermometer is not required out of scientific necessity," despite the fact that several scientists and experts in State v. Chun testified that the use of NIST-compliant thermometers is necessary.
According to a recent article in the NJ Law Journal, the New Jersey State Bar Association urged the court to "hold that the requirement of a NIST-traceable thermometer was decided in Chun and must be adhered to in order to establish the evidential reliability of any Alcotest breath reading."
The motion to appoint a special master comes just after the State of New Jersey filed criminal charges against Sergeant Marc Dennis for allegedly failing to calibrate Alcotest devices properly.
Sergeant Dennis, who faces charges of fourth-degree falsifying records and third-degree tampering with records, allegedly failed to use NIST-compliant thermometers when calibrating Alcotest devices and then falsely certified that he had calibrated the devices properly.
The developing scandal involving Sergeant Dennis has the potential to throw into question more than 20,000 DWI cases in the State of New Jersey.
In other words, the Attorney General’s Office is requesting to eliminate the rule that requires the use of NIST-compliant thermometers just as Sergeant Marc Dennis is being charged with records tampering due to his alleged failure to use NIST-compliant thermometers when calibrating Alcotest devices.
The State of New Jersey announced "the Sunset of the Alcotest" in 2013, telling the Supreme Court that it would completely replace the Alcotest device altogether by 2016.
In their recent motion to appoint a Special Master on the thermometer issue, the State has said nothing about any plans to do so. Because the State is now arguing about this small component part for the machine, it is clear that a plan to replace the Alcotest is not coming any time in the near future.
Further, it is expected that once the 566 municipalities are presented with the costs of the new machine, there could be tremendous push back, as towns will not want to pay almost $15,000 for a machine that was used for 10 years, when the old Breathalyzer lasted for 50 years.
Are you or a loved one facing DWI charges in the State of New Jersey? It is important to consider all of your legal options before making any decisions about how to proceed with your DWI case.
You can call the highly-qualified DUI defense attorneys at Levow DWI Law today for a free consultation to learn about your legal options. Our extensive involvement in the State v. Chun case makes us particularly qualified to represent clients charged with DWI / DUI in New Jersey.
We have successfully defended clients arrested on DWI charges throughout the State of New Jersey and have helped many of them to obtain favorable outcomes.
Contact us today to get the legal representation that you need.