The State of New Jersey’s Division of Criminal Justice recently filed criminal charges against NJ State Police Sergeant Marc Dennis accusing him of multiple counts of records tampering in DWI cases throughout New Jersey.
This recent development has the potential to re-open several thousand DWI cases in the State of New Jersey, according to the State’s Division of Criminal Justice.
Our New York DWI defense lawyers discuss this developing story and the potential litigation that could arise if Sergeant Marc Dennis is convicted of the charges against him.
About The Developing Case
New Jersey’s Division of Criminal Justice sent a letter to court administrators in September alleging that Sergeant Marc Dennis is guilty of tampering third degree Tampering with Public Records (N.J.S.A. 2C:28-7) and fourth degree Falsifying or Tampering with Records (N.J.S.A. 2C:21-4).
The Criminal Allegations Against Sergeant Marc Dennis
The criminal complaint alleges that Sergeant Marc Dennis, who was a coordinator at the State Police’s Alcohol & Drug Testing Unit (ADTU) for many years, failed perform a crucial step in the calibration of Alcotest devices used in the field to determine Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) levels in those suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol.
In addition to other allegations, the criminal complaint sent by the State’s Division of Criminal Justice states that:
“In sum and substance, the State alleges that, in his capacity as an ADTU coordinator, Dennis failed to use a NIST-traceable digital thermometer to test the temperature of the liquid simulator solutions prior to starting the actual calibration of Alcotest 7110 MKIII-C units (“the Alcotest instrument”). Use of a NIST-traceable thermometer prior to starting the actual calibration of the Alcotest instrument is part of the re-calibration process that was established by the Chief Forensic Scientist of the State Police, consistent with N.J.A.C. 13:51, and the was adopted by the New Jersey Supreme Court in State v. Chun, 2007 N.J. Lexis 39 (2007).”
The Potential Consequences Of Dennis’ Mistakes
Sergeant Marc Dennis was a coordinator at New Jersey’s Alcohol & Drug Testing Unit (ADTU) for more than seven years. During his time as a coordinator at New Jersey’s ADTU, Dennis was responsible for the calibration of several Alcotest devices used by police officers in the field.
Specifically, the criminal complaint alleges that Dennis was responsible for calibrating breath-testing devices used by law enforcement officers in:
- Monmouth County,
- Somerset County,
- Middlesex County,
- Union County,
- and Ocean County.
What Happens If An Alcotest Device Is Not Properly Calibrated?
Failing to properly calibrate an Alcotest device can result in inaccurate testing results that could lead to artificially high Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) readings.
Because police officers throughout the State of New Jersey used Alcotest devices that were not properly calibrated it is possible that many drivers may have been prosecuted for DUI charges based on inaccurate or inadmissible evidence.
The State suspects that this recent development has the potential to re-open several thousand DWI cases in the State of New Jersey that involved drivers who were convicted of DUI charges after submitting to breath tests obtained with devices calibrated by Sergeant Marc Dennis.
As a result, the State is requesting that the Supreme Court issues a Notice to the Bar to appoint a Special Master who will oversee any litigation arising from these developments.