Tens of thousands of NJ drunk driving cases could be tossed

Tim Jimenez
November 14, 2018 - 7:15 am
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, the son of immigrant parents, spoke during a Law Day event.

David Madden | KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A New Jersey Supreme Court ruling means tens of thousands of people who were accused of drunk driving could have their cases tossed. 

The high court ruled unanimously Tuesday that breathalyzer results in 20,000 cases may not be used as evidence because of a case against State Police Sergeant Marc Dennis. Prosecutors say he skipped a key step while calibrating the breathalyzers, specifically Alcotest devices.

Results from machines he handled between 2008 and 2016 are in question, including tests local police used in Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Somerset and Union counties. 

"He'll be held accountable," New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said Tuesday. "I can't speak more to that because it's a pending case."

Dennis maintains his innocence. 

As for what the ruling means for law enforcement, Grewal says his office will try to get everyone on the same page. 

"We'll  be issuing guidance shortly for our county prosecutors and municipal prosecutors with respect as to how to handle those cases," he said.

It doesn't necesarily mean all the drunk driving cases will definitely be thrown out. The Alcotest is just one tool to bring in evidence of a DUI. But the court did rule that those who were tested and convicted can, "seek appropriate relief." And a "stay" has been lifted for any case that is pending.