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  • By: Kevin Leckerman, Esq.
  • Published: October 26, 2011
The iconic golden gate bridge in San Francisco - Leckerman Law, LLC

Philadelphia Eagles football is in full swing and the tailgating season has arrived. Yet, keep in mind during all of this celebrating that you still have to make it home safely.

Many Philadelphia sports fans live in New Jersey and, therefore, have to make a return journey across one of the nearby bridges after the game. Over and near those bridges the Delaware River Port Authority police (DRPA) patrols. This police force has the ability to make car stops and arrests on the bridges and in the areas by the bridges on both sides of the river.

If you were arrested for DUI by the DRPA, then your case will be heard in a New Jersey Municipal Court. This occurs even when a person is arrested on the Pennsylvania side of the bridge. Most likely, the DUI charge will be heard in one of the municipal courts located in Pennsauken, Gloucester City, Camden or Palmyra.

When fighting a DUI charge, you must obtain as much information as possible concerning the evidence that the prosecution plans to present against you. Unfortunately, the DRPA does not use any of the outrageously high toll fees for video surveillance systems in the patrol cars. In other words, the roadside investigation will not be recorded by a car camera. As such, the DUI case will be based primarily on the word of the police officer. Therefore, it is important to make sure that your attorney understands the intricacies of field sobriety testing and the breath testing device used.

If the officer fails to follow his or her training for field sobriety testing, then those failures can be addressed through a defense expert in field sobriety testing. A DWI defense attorney who is trained to administer field sobriety tests can readily identify problems with the testing and recommend that an expert be used to create a defense. The defense expert should be someone who currently or formerly trained police officers in how to administer standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs). This expert would write a report criticizing the failures of the testing, which would be submitted to the prosecutor. Such a report could be used to convince a prosecutor to dismiss a DWI charge.

Ideally, this expert also understands the operation of the breath testing device used in New Jersey: The Alcotest. If the Alcotest operator failed to use the machine properly or follow required procedures, then the expert can include in a report the problems in the breath testing administration. A DWI lawyer should already have training for the Alcotest in order to identify issues that would necessitate the use of an expert witness. Additionally, there are physiological factors that may affect the reliability of the Alcotest, such as reflux disease and diabetes.

Without hiring a qualified attorney, you may not be able to explore all possible legitimate defenses to a DWI charge.

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