Motion To Suppress the Alcotest Results Which Led to Arrest for Driving While Intoxicated (“DWI”)
State of New Jersey v. Ryan Peschieri
Docket No. A-1791-20
Decided November 16, 2022
Submitted by New Jersey DWI Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark.
In a recent unpublished opinion, the Appellate Court of New Jersey decided defendant’s appeal of his motion to suppress the Alcotest results which led to his arrest for Driving While Intoxicated (“DWI”).
At approximately 2:00 a.m. in January 2019, police received a call from a man indicating that there was a suspicious parked car on his street for about thirty minutes with its engine and brake lights on. An officer arrived on scene and approached the defendant’s vehicle. When the officer asked the defendant where he was coming from, he noticed defendant’s eyes were watery, his face was pale, and the smell of alcohol was emanating from his breath. The officer also observed the defendant struggling to retrieve his driving credentials from his wallet. After being asked if he had been drinking that night, defendant admitted to the officer that he drank two or three beers. Defendant then performed field sobriety tests, failed them, and subsequently arrested for drunk driving. At the police station, defendant underwent a breathalyzer, and the Alcotest test results revealed defendant’s blood alcohol concentration (“BAC”) was 0.14 percent, well over the legal limit of 0.08 percent set by N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.
In municipal court, defendant filed a motion to suppress the Alcotest results, arguing that the officer did not have probable cause to approach his vehicle. The court denied the motion, and found the officer’s encounter with defendant was based upon his role as a community caretaker. The court ultimately concluded that there was probable cause to arrest defendant based on the officer’s observation of defendant in the car and his failed sobriety tests. The court also determined the Alcotest was properly administered, with the test results confirming defendant was guilty of DWI. Defendant appealed to the Law Division who affirmed the municipal court’s ruling. Defendant subsequently appealed the Law Division’s ruling as well.
On appeal to the Appellate Court, defendant contended that his seizure under the Fourth Amendment was not justified under the community caretaking exception to the warrant requirement since the facts presented by the officer were not unusual enough to warrant even a slight and temporary intrusion into his privacy. Defendant also argued that the Alcotest was not properly performed, which made the test results inadmissible to sustain his DWI conviction. The Appellate Court did not agree with either argument and affirmed the lower courts’ rulings. The court noted that 911 call to police from the resident regarding a suspicious vehicle that had been parked for thirty minutes with the engine running at 2:00 a.m. was “abnormal” for that time of the early morning, suggesting the driver of the car needed some assistance. Moreover, the court concluded that there was sufficient credible evidence the Alcotest operator adhered to the requirements set forth in State v. Chun, which require (1) the Alcotest was in working order and had been “inspected according to procedure”; (2) “the operator was certified”; and (3) the operator administered the test “according to official procedure.”
At Hark & Hark, we are experienced attorneys who represent clients in Municipal Court for issues like the previously discussed case pertaining to DWIs and motions to suppress Alcotest results. We work hard to ensure that our clients receive exceptional representation in order for them to receive the most favorable outcome in their case as a result.
We offer payment plan options to clients financially incapable of providing full payment upfront. If you are facing a similar situation to that of the defendant in this case, please call us to discuss the matter. At Hark & Hark, we represent clients for any case in any county in New Jersey including Atlantic County, Bergen County, Burlington County, Camden County, Cape May County, Cumberland County, Essex County, Gloucester County, Hudson County, Hunterdon County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Morris County, Ocean County, Passaic County, Salem County, Somerset County, Sussex County, Union County, and Warren County and any town including Audubon, Gloucester City, Oaklyn, Audubon Park, Gloucester Township, Pennsauken, Barrington, Haddon Heights, Pine Hill, Bellmawr, Haddon Township, Pine Valley, Berlin Borough, Haddonfield, Runnemede, Berlin Township, Hi-Nella, Somerdale, Brooklawn, Laurel Springs, Stratford, Camden, Lawnside, Voorhees, Cherry Hill, Lindenwold, Waterford, Chesilhurst, Magnolia, Winslow, Clementon, Merchantville, Woodlynne, Collingswood, Mt. Ephraim, and Gibbsboro.
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