On appeal from Superior Court, Law Division, Warren County.
Pressler, Dreier and Gruccio. The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gruccio, J.s.c. (temporarily assigned).
Defendant William A. Hardy, Sr., appeals from his de novo conviction in the Superior Court, Law Division, for drunk driving, N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.
1. The breathalyzer results were improperly admitted into evidence.
2. The State failed to prove defendant was under the influence.
3. The hearing as conducted violated defendant's procedural and substantive rights.
4. Defendant's constitutional rights were violated.
(b) Defendant's right to be present at all stages of the proceeding including the rehearing.
At trial, the State's evidence revealed that on October 13, 1983, defendant was driving on Edison Road, White Township, Warren County, and collided with a bridge abutment causing his vehicle to land on its roof in a nearby brook. The arresting state trooper, Bryan Peter Dailey, testified that defendant said he swerved to avoid hitting a deer. This trooper noticed a strong odor of alcoholic beverage in defendant's breath. No physical tests were performed at the scene because defendant would not cooperate. Transported to the police station, defendant allegedly swayed, lost his balance and spoke with slurred speech. Finally, Trooper Dailey opined that defendant was under the influence of alcohol.
At the station, Trooper Roland J. Mushala, a breathalyzer operator, completed an alcohol influence report and administered breathalyzer tests resulting in two readings of 0.19% blood alcohol content.
At trial, there being no attorney to represent the interests of the State, the municipal court judge presented the State's case and admitted into evidence two breathalyzer ...