New Jersey’s Division of Criminal Justice recently filed criminal charges against NJ State Police Sergeant Marc Dennis in relation to his alleged involvement in tampering with evidence in DWI cases.
A letter from NJ State’s Division of Criminal Justice was sent to court administrators on Monday, September 19th, accusing Sergeant Marc Dennis of third degree Tampering with Public Records and fourth degree Falsifying or Tampering with Records.
Dennis is being accused of these charges after allegedly failing to properly calibrate Alcotest devices (New Jersey’s breath testing machine) used in the field during his time as a coordinator at the State’s Alcohol Drug Testing Unit (ADTU).
Specifically, the letter from NJ State’s Division of Criminal Justice states that:
“In sum and substance, the State alleges that, in his capacity as an ADTU coordinator, Dennis failed to use a NIST-traceable digital thermometer to test the temperature of the liquid simulator solutions prior to starting the actual calibration of Alcotest 7110 MKIII-C units (“the Alcotest instrument”). Use of a NIST-traceable thermometer prior to starting the actual calibration of the Alcotest instrument is part of the re-calibration process that was established by the Chief Forensic Scientist of the State Police, consistent with N.J.A.C. 13:51, and the was adopted by the New Jersey Supreme Court in State v. Chun, 2007 N.J. Lexis 39 (2007).”
You can view the full document sent to court administrators by clicking here.
In addition to allegedly failing to use the NIST-traceable digital thermometer to test the temperature of the liquid simulator solutions before calibrating breath-testing devices, the State also alleges that Sergeant Marc Dennis falsely certified that he had calibrated the devices pursuant to and consistent with the Calibration Check Procedure for the Alcotest 7110 MKIII-C established by the Chief Forensic Scientist.
The accuracy of chemical breath-testing devices is largely dependent on proper maintenance and calibration of the devices. Failure to properly maintain or calibrate a breath-testing device can lead to misleading BAC measurements.
In fact, many DWI arrests in New Jersey can be challenged and overturned based on unreliable chemical test results due to improper maintenance or calibration of testing devices.
Learn more about the Alcotest and the reliability of breath tests in New Jersey DWI cases by visiting our “Breath Testing” page.
Sergeant Marc Dennis was formerly a coordinator in the State Police’s Alcohol Drug Testing Unit (ADTU) for over seven years. During his time as a coordinator at New Jersey’s ADTU, Dennis was responsible for calibrating breath-testing devices used by law enforcement officers in Middlesex, Monmouth, Somerset, Union and Ocean Counties.
The Alcotest instruments calibrated by Dennis were used by law enforcement officers in the field to determine alleged Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) levels in individuals suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol.
According to the letter from NJ State’s Division of Criminal Justice, the State has identified 20,667 individuals who provided breath samples on breath-testing instruments that were calibrated by Sergeant Marc Dennis.
As a result, the State expects that additional legal challenges will likely be filed by individuals arrested on DWI charges in New Jersey whose chemical test results were obtained using breath-testing devices calibrated by Sergeant Marc Dennis.
To deal with potential legal litigation arising from the these recent developments, the State is requesting that the Supreme Court issues a Notice to the Bar and appoint a Special Master to make the litigation process more efficient.
Were you previously arrested on DWI charges in the State of New Jersey? If you believe that you are one of the 20,667 individuals who provided breath samples on breath-testing instruments calibrated by Sergeant Marc Dennis then you may be able to take legal action.
You can contact Levow DWI Law today for a free consultation to discuss your DWI case and your potential legal options. Our team of New Jersey DWI defense attorneys have successfully represented individuals arrested on DWI charges throughout the State of New Jersey.
We may be able to help you challenge a previous DWI conviction if your case involved breath samples obtained with a device calibrated by Sergeant Dennis.
This is a rapidly developing case and time is of the essence, so do not hesitate to contact our team of DWI defense attorneys for your free consultation.
Thanks to our friends at The Law Offices of Michael H. Joseph, White Plains workers compensation lawyers, for their contributions to this post.