Proof of Operation in Morris County NJ DWI Cases
DUI Defense Attorneys in Florham Park, New Jersey
If you or a loved one has been charged with an alcohol related offense in New Jersey, contact an experienced DWI defense lawyer for help. Travis J. Tormey is a criminal defense and drunk driving (DWI) attorney who has been representing clients throughout New Jersey for years charged with alcohol related offenses including third offense DWI, underage DWI,and refusal to submit to a breath test in Riverdale, Montville, and Morristown. In fact, Mr. Tormey is one of the few New Jersey attorneys who are certified Alcotest 7110 operators, the breath testing device used throughout the state to prosecute drunk driving cases. As a result, Mr. Tormey knows the components of the machine, how it works, and if there are any issues with the functioning of the breath testing device. This knowledge and expertise can be used to attack the reliability of the breath test result in your case.
Our DWI defense team is composed of a former New Jersey DWI prosecutor, an attorney who is certified on the Alcotest 7110 breath testing device, and a retired NJ State trooper who is certified not only on the breath test machine but also in the field sobriety tests.
Proof of Operation in a DWI Prosecution
There are several elements that the State must prove in order to sustain a driving while intoxicated (DWI) case in New Jersey including probable cause for the traffic stop, proof of intoxication, and proof of operation of the motor vehicle. In some cases, proof of operation is very clear as law enforcement pulls the vehicle over and the driver is behind the wheel. However, there are many cases where proof of operation is not so clear including the following:
- Vehicle is in a parking lot not running but driver is behind the wheel
- Vehicle is in a parking lot running and driver is behind the wheel but the car is in park
- Vehicle is in the parking lot running but the driver is sleeping with the seat reclined
- Vehicle is stopped on a highway with the car running/not running, person is not behind the wheel
- Vehicle is in a driveway with the car running/not running, person is behind the wheel/not behind the wheel
- Vehicle is at a rest area with the car running/not running, person is outside the vehicle
- Several passengers in the vehicle, different versions of who was driving
In the landmark proof of operation case, State v. Daly (126 N.J. Super 313 (1973)), the Supreme held that the defendant, who was found in an intoxicated condition sitting in the driver’s seat of his car in a restaurant parking lot with the motor running one hour and 20 minutes after the closing time of the tavern, and who asserted that he had started the engine to get some heat in the car while he slept, was not shown to be ‘operating’ the car. His intent to operate the vehicle was clearly not present since he was sleeping and the car was only running to stay warm.
Fair Lawn NJ DWI Charges Dismissed
Travis J. Tormey recently represented a client charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. Mr. Tormey was able to isolate an issue with the State’s proof of operation of the motor vehicle. The defendant and the passenger had switched seats at some point before the traffic stop and the arresting officer was not certain that the defendant was sitting in the driver’s seat after the initial traffic stop or that he had operated the motor vehicle at any point. As such, the State was unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant operated the motor vehicle which is one of the essential elements of a DWI case. Therefore, the DWI charges were dismissed against the defendant.
Contact a Long Hill NJ DWI Lawyer for a Free Consultation
Our experienced criminal defense lawyers are available immediately to assist you with your DWI case in New Jersey. Our DWI defense team is composed of a former New Jersey DWI prosecutor, an attorney who is certified on the Alcotest 7110 breath testing device, and a retired NJ State trooper who is certified not only on the breath test machine but also in the field sobriety tests. Contact our offices anytime for a free initial consultation at 866-949-6948. We are happy to talk to you about your case.