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Over 20K DUI Cases in New Jersey May Be Tossed After Court Ruling

By Lisa M. Schaffer, Esq. on November 15, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Some 20,000 convicted DUI drivers may be raising their glasses today to Sgt. Marc Dennis. The officer was found guilty of not calibrating breath testing devices correctly back in 2016. These devices were used in five New Jersey counties, including Middlesex, Monmouth, Union, Ocean, and Somerset. As a result, all convictions based on breath tested by Dennis can now be challenged.

A Dennis Breath Test -- the Golden Ticket!

In the unanimous ruling by the New Jersey Supreme Court, the court overruled the DUI conviction of one woman whose case centered on an improperly calibrated "Dennis Breath Test." Unfortunately, the woman past away earlier this year from a terminal illness, but the overturned conviction was entered so as to serve as precedent for others seeking to challenge their DUI conviction.

In addition, the state was ordered to notify anyone whose DUI arrest was based on Dennis's breath test equipment that their results weren't scientifically sound. Though there are over 20,000 such cases, it is highly unlikely all of them will come forward to re-open their case. Some may have been convicted on evidence other than the breath test, and others may have already served their punishment and may not want to re-open their case.

Mass Exclusions in Massachusetts

Though these sorts of errors are rare, but they do happen. Earlier this year in Massachusetts, a District Court judge found issues with breath testing equipment used by the state during a six year span from 2011 to 2017. The ruling lead to a settlement by the district attorney's office to exclude certain breath test evidence which could affect up to 36,000 DUI cases, depending on how many come forward to re-open their case.

If you think there were issues with the equipment used during your DUI, contact a local DUI attorney. These trained experts have their finger on the pulse of all local, state, and federal news in this arena, and can provide you with the best defense possible, including defenses you may not even know about. You too may have a golden ticket waiting for you!

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