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After Challenge, NJ Top Court Affirms Most DUI Breath Test Results

(A breath test administered with an Alcotest tester.  File photo)

(A breath test administered with an Alcotest tester. File photo)

David Madden David Madden
David Madden is a Philadelphia native with virtually a lifetime of...
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By David Madden

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — New Jersey’s highest court has sided with the state over concerns regarding the machine used to test for drunk driving.

Alcotest replaced the Breathalyzer over a decade ago, and its accuracy has been challenged in court a number of times since then.

Five years ago, the state Supreme Court ordered the state to tweak the machine’s software and to create a searchable database to store test results.

Last week, lawyers for 20 DUI defendants claimed the state failed to comply.  But, in a ruling, the Supreme Court disagrees.

“The machine that we used to test drunken driving, the Alcotest machine, was reliable. There are no concerns about the use of the machine,” says acting New Jersey attorney general John Hoffman.

Perhaps with one exception: women over age 60 might not be able to breathe hard enough to provide an adequate sample.  In those cases, the court found, prosecutors will need more than the breath test to proceed to trial.