Friday, October 30, 2015
Campbell DWI statute and Alcotest not unconstitutional. State v. Campbell
DWI statute and Alcotest not unconstitutional. State v. Campbell 436 N.J. Super. 264 (App. Div. 2014)
Defendant's prosecution was based upon an Alcotest reading of his blood alcohol content ("BAC") above the per se level of .08 prohibited by N.J.S.A. 39:4-50(a). He argues that case law authorizing the admission of Alcotest BAC results when the prerequisites for such admissibility are shown by "clear-and-convincing" proof, coupled with the statute's conclusively incriminating treatment of a BAC at or above .08, improperly combine to relieve the State of its constitutional burden of proving a driver's guilt by the more rigorous standard of proof "beyond a reasonable doubt."
The Court rejects defendant's claim of unconstitutionality. The argument fails to distinguish the State's threshold burden of establishing the Alcotest's evidential admissibility from the State's ultimate burden at trail of establishing defendant's guilt of a per se offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Even if a pretrial motion to suppress the BAC results has been denied, a defendant can still present competing evidence or arguments at trial to persuade the court that the testing procedures were flawed and that his guilt has not been proven by the more stringent reasonable doubt standard.