On appeal from the Municipal Court of Clark Township from judgment of conviction of R.S. 39:4-50 (operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol).
This is an appeal from a conviction for drunken driving in the Municipal Court of Clark Township. Defendant was operating his automobile at 80 miles per hour on the Garden State Parkway on July 12, 1959, at 2:30 A.M., weaving back and forth across two lanes. He had been at a club in Warren Township from 10:30 or 11 o'clock in the evening where he admittedly drank several glasses of rum and coke. His breath smelled of liquor, he swayed and failed several of the usual tests for sobriety. His drunkometer reading was .18 per cent. He showed emotional unbalance at the time and attempted to bribe the State troopers.
The appeal is on stenographic transcript which I have read. I have also read the briefs on both sides. I am convinced beyond any doubt that defendant was under the influence of alcohol at the time and place alleged and that his conviction was correct.
Appellant's argument may be stated in two points:
1. Aside from the drunkometer test, the State's evidence was insufficient to qualify as proof of the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt;
2. The drunkometer test results should be disregarded because no proof was offered as to the compounding of the chemicals used, the supervision of the machine, and the qualifications of the operator.
As to the first point, it is well established that medical proof is not required. The evidence of the arresting State trooper and of Trooper Burke, the drunkometer operator who also gave clinical tests, is entirely convincing. It satisfies me beyond any doubt without reference to the drunkometer reading. Defendant's evidence confirmed that defendant had
been drinking and carousing and that he fell asleep on the way to the police headquarters. Aside from the opinion of a drinking companion that defendant did not look drunk to him, there was nothing in defendant's favor. Defendant's proof raised no doubt.
As to the second point, heavy reliance is placed on State v. Brezina , 45 N.J. Super. 596 (Cty. Ct. 1957). The contention is that under the ruling in that case no proof of the results of a drunkometer test may be considered without an array of scientific evidence establishing the condition of the machine and the chemicals used and the qualification of the operator. The cited case has been welcomed as a boon to the bibulous and has been cited in nearly every drunken driving case since it was reported. It is obvious that the decision does not have the breadth of scope attributed to it by defense counsel.
It should be noted that in the Brezina case the testimony with respect to the use of the drunkometer was contested at every point when offered. Scientific evidence was offered for the defendant. In the present case, Trooper John R. Burke of the State Police was described as the "drunkometer man." Without objection, he testified to making the test and its results. His qualifications were not contested. He was not questioned on the operation of the machine nor upon the condition of the chemicals. Not until the State's case was rested was any objection made to the receiving of this evidence. Apparently ...