Court permits police to ignore guidelines requiring Alcohol influence report be given to DWI suspects
State v Sorensen 438 NJ Super. 471 (App. Div. 2015)
After the Law Division suppressed defendant's blood alcohol content (BAC) results, it sentenced her on her guilty plea to driving under the influence. Nonetheless, the State's appeal of the suppression was not barred by double jeopardy because defendant had entered a conditional plea to, and been sentenced for, the per se violation in Municipal Court.
The Law Division suppressed the BAC results because the Alcotest operator did not give a copy of the Alcohol Influence Report (AIR) to the arrestee in the police station. Although State v. Chun, 194 N.J. 54, 82 (2008), said the operator "must" do so, that comment about recommended Alcotest procedure did not override the statutory standard only requiring the police to give a copy of the breath test results upon request. N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.2(b). In any event, the timing of copy delivery does not affect the validity of the test results. Moreover, police must advise arrestees of their ability to request a copy and to get an independent test. Therefore, suppression is not warranted in the absence of prejudice. Furthermore, a suppression remedy should not be imposed retroactively.
Judge Sabatino concurs in the result. Given the time-sensitive dissipation of alcohol in the bloodstream, he believes Chun sensibly requires the operator to provide a copy of the AIR contemporaneously, consistent with the policies of the Attorney General and the State Police, and that the statute does not foreclose affording such added procedural protection to tested drivers. He agrees that suppression in this case and retroactive relief are not warranted.