Interviewer: What are the issues and costs going forward when paperwork says a breath test happened at 3 a.m. when it actually happened at 4 a.m.? How does that specifically affect a defense?
Carl Spector: The memorandum that went from the State of New Jersey Attorney General to all of the municipalities tells police officers to specifically restate the arrest time as an hour before the actual arrest time. Then, that would set up the Alcotest machine, which is based on timestamps, to then be an hour before the actual test.
Some police officers are failing to record the arrest time as an hour earlier. Therefore, the readout shows that they actually arrested them at the wrong time. We have then been able to successfully challenge those results as being inaccurate.
Interviewer: Is that a problem that the Attorney General directed the police to change the arrest time, because the police are then writing false information. They have been told to falsify their report, essentially to make the numbers jive. So it seems like a catch 22 if they do that because why wouldn’t they falsify anything else in the report? Does such a change call everything else into question?
Carl Spector: Well, I think there is an issue there with regard to calling such a change into question. I believe that any judge would accept the Attorney General’s memo as simply a work around for Daylight Saving Time; instead of a falsification. This is because the machines are not up to date, quite frankly.
I mean, I think it opens them up. They become vulnerable. However, I do not think they become as vulnerable as you would suggest with a falsification. What has occurred is the officers, I think, are either confused by the memo or not aware of the memo.
Interviewer: What is your estimation on how many people could have been affected by this, months later?
Carl Spector: Well, out of the State of New Jersey there has to be hundreds if not thousands of people who were actually arrested for DWI between March 10th and April 7th. I actually saw an Alcotest that was done on April 7th after 2 a.m., which did not even revert accurately to Daylight Saving Time. So what was supposed to happen did not even happen.
Interviewer: Is it possible then that the window could be longer?
Carl Spector: That is absolutely correct. I would have to see what is going on with cases that happened on April 8th, 9th and 10th to see whether or not some of these machines have even been reset accurately.
Interviewer: That is crazy.
Carl Spector: Of course, that would make them vulnerable on an ongoing basis.
By Carl Spector