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Can I Challenge a DWI Charge in New Jersey?

a DWI is an incredibly serious offense. As a result, a DWI charge carries penalties that may follow you throughout your life. If you are facing DWI charges, it is important to be aware of your rights. There are some cases in which these charges can be challenged with the help of an experienced attorney. Read on to learn more about DWI offenses and what to do if you are facing DWI charges in New Jersey.

What are the Potential Defenses?

The three main defenses when it comes to challenging a DWI include illegal stops, officers breaking the 20-minute rule, and officers failing to follow strict sobriety test protocol.

Illegal Stop

If a police officer stops you, they must have a valid reason to do so. If you can prove that you were stopped illegally, the evidence gathered at that stop may be dismissed.

20-Minute Rule

According to New Jersey law,  officers are required to observe a subject for no less than 20 minutes before conducting a chemical breath test. During the test, police officers must look for signs of regurgitation that can skew the results and ensure that the test is as accurate as possible. If this protocol was not followed and it can be proven, it is a valid defense to dismiss the charges.

Sobriety Test Protocol

There are three field sobriety tests that can help a police officer assess the likelihood that the subject is intoxicated. These tests include:

  • The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test
  • The One Leg Stand test
  • The Walk and Turn test

These tests have specific rules as to how they must be carried out. For example, the officer must not only read the instructions of the test to the driver, but demonstrate it for them as well. Before the tests begin, the driver must fully understand what is expected of them. If an individual fails a test, the officer may arrest them for a DWI.

Some defenses for a failed Field Sobriety Test may include:

  • The officer did not read all the instructions
  • The officer did not demonstrate the test
  • The officer did not inform the individual that they may remove high heels
  • The individual has health issues preventing them from passing the test

If you are facing DWI charges in New Jersey, you will want to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney right away.


Kevin T. Conway is an experienced Bergen County criminal attorney handling DUI, DWI, traffic violations, violent crimes, sex crimes, illegal gun possession, shoplifting, and juvenile crimes. Attorney Conway is also experienced in commercial law matters, zoning law, and estate planning. If you need an aggressive criminal lawyer, contact The Law Office of Kevin T. Conway for a free consultation.

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