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NJ DWI ALCOTEST and Daylight Savings Calendar

Under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, Daylight Savings Time (DST) was changed, effective April, 2007. Prior to the Act, DST occurred on the first Sunday in April and the last Sunday of October. Under the new change, DST occurs on the second Sunday in March and first Sunday in November.

The Alcotest 7110 Mark IIIC was manufactured prior to 2007, and as such is preprogrammed to reflect the old daylight savings time. Therefore for approximately two to three weeks in March/April the times reflected on the Alcohol Influence Report (AIR) will be off by plus one hour. That is, you should add one hour to the time for each IR and EC. In the fall, the time will be off an hour for only one week, and during such time, one hour should be subtracted from the time reflected on the AIR.

The time change becomes critical because of the twenty minute-observation period. One could seemingly believe that the AIR proves they officer did not observe the 20-Minute observation period, when in fact, up to an hour and 19 minutes could have elapsed.

By way of example: The defendant is arrested on March 15, at 11:00 P.M., and taken to the police station at 11:10. The AIR show that the first blow occurred at 11:29, which means in order to have a valid breath test, the 20 minute-observation period must have started at 11:09. Woo hoo! Home-Run! Slam-Dunk! In your face Mr. Prosecutor, right? WRONG! Remember you add an hour to the time on the AIR’s printed on the days between the second Sunday in March and the First Sunday in April. Therefore, the first breath test actually occurred at 12:21 A.M. and the operator had ample time to observe the test subject.

To be sure you are cognizant of the effect of a time change on the AIR, a good DWI lawyer will mark his calendar to remind him that all AIR’s during this period will be off.