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Over 20,000 DWI convictions questioned in New Jersey

When most people read a news story alleging that a driver was arrested because he or she was under the influence of alcohol, they may be willing to accept the information provided by law enforcement officers without questioning it. However, there are many steps that go into determining a person's blood alcohol content and whether he or she should be charged with DWI or other related charge. In fact, human error or deliberate oversight could result in inaccurate results. For example, over 20,000 drunk driving convictions in New Jersey are now being questioned.

Reports indicate that the officer responsible for calibrating breath-testing devices skipped a step that was required as part of the process. State officials claim that skipping the step does not mean that the results are unreliable; the skipped step, according to them, was simply an additional fail-safe measure that no other state requires. However, the New Jersey State Supreme Court disagrees with that argument, ruling that the missed step makes the reliability of the tests questionable.

The ruling requires state prosecutors to notify anyone who was convicted due to evidence provided by breath tests calibrated by the police officer -- who now faces criminal charges -- and notify them that the the breath tests used in their cases were not scientifically reliable. They have the option of requesting that their convictions be vacated. The police officer in question denies any wrongdoing.

Unfortunately, this case demonstrates the potential fallibility of breath tests that are sometimes used against people facing DWI accusations in court. Thousands of people over multiple counties in New Jersey are now wondering whether they were wrongfully convicted. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help those impacted by the recent ruling to fully understand their options and take appropriate action.

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