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NJ Trooper HGN test

A Review of  DWI Discovery and the Collection of Medical Records Resulted in a DWI Dismissal

NJ Trooper HGN testWe recently were able to obtain an outright dismissal of the DWI charge for our client in Deptford Township Municipal Court.  Regular readers of our blog will know you should never just plead guilty to a DWI and, in selecting a NJ DWI attorney, past results are important.

Our recent result in the Deptford Township Municipal Court is a testament to the fact that not every defendant that is charged with a DWI is ultimately convicted.

In our case, the client and his friend left a nightclub in Deptford after consuming only two glasses of wine over an hour and a half to two and a half hour period of time. While he and his friend were on their way home, a Deptford police officer pulled him over, initially, for failure to maintain lane.  

During the stop the officer believed that he could smell a strong odor of alcohol coming from the the interior of the vehicle. The officer then asked our client to exit the vehicle and perform a series of field sobriety tests.

Our client informed the officer that this would be difficult if not impossible for him because he had medical conditions with his feet and ankles that would limit his ability to perform the field sobriety tests. The officer nevertheless proceeded to administer three field sobriety tests and ultimately placed our client under arrest.

Field sobriety testing is used in almost every suspected DWI case where there has not been an accident or injury of the suspect. The police conduct field sobriety tests such as horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN), walk in turn, and one leg stand tests for two reasons. First and foremost, these tests give probable cause to place a suspect under arrest and compelled them to provide a breath sample and, secondly, the tests results by themselves can be the basis of a DWI conviction.

In our case, the officer proceeded to bring our client back to the police station and perform the Alcotest breath test on the client. The Alcotest reading was 0.01% BAC. Despite having a blood-alcohol content that was 1/8 the legal limit the police charge our client with DWI.  The basis for the charges were where the field sobriety test.  It should be noted the police did not have a blood draw nor were they alleging that the client was under the influence of narcotics.

Our firm, of course, requested the state’s discovery. We carefully reviewed the discovery. In reviewing the discovery, it became apparent that State’s entire case was based upon the field sobriety results.  We knew that our client had documented foot and ankle conditions that  prohibited him from successfully completing the field sobriety tests.  This became the corner stone of defense and a way for us to introduce reasonable doubt.  We had our client obtain the medical records to document his foot and ankle treatment history from is podiatric specialist. A review of the medical records indicated that our client had significant feet and ankle limitations and had an extensive medical treatment history.

We were able to use the states own discovery and our clients medical documentation to get the Deptford Township municipal prosecutor to request that the charges against our client be dismissed. What really makes this result a success for our client is the fact that we are able to reach it without having to obtain the services of an expensive field sobriety expert.

If you or a loved one needs strong representation in Deptford Township Municipal Court or any other municipal court in New Jersey, do not hesitate to contact the municipal court defense lawyers at DeMichele & DeMichele today. We are here to defend the charges against you. Contact us now for your confidential and free initial consultation. You can also reach us by telephone (856) 546-1350. Don’t just plead guilty and risk your driving privilege or driving record.

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The outcome of every DWI case is very fact specific.  Your particular case results will vary depending on a wide range of legal issues and other factors.  The facts of your case may not apply to or relate to the results of the case described above.

Post Author: Rick DeMichele

Richard A. DeMichele, Jr. is a seasoned litigator, devoting a substantial part of his practice to family law and personal injury matters.