NJ Supreme Court ruling could vacate thousands of DWI cases

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- A New Jersey Supreme Court decision could cause more than 20,000 drunken driving convictions to be vacated.

In their unanimous decision issued Tuesday, the justices found that criminal charges against a state police sergeant who was in charge of calibrating breath-testing devices made the test results from five counties inadmissible as evidence.

The decision means that as many as 20,667 DWI convictions could now be challenged.

Authorities have alleged that Sgt. Marc Dennis skipped a required step in the calibration of the devices. He has denied any wrongdoing and has pleaded not guilty to records tampering and other charges.

The accusations called into question any test result involving a machine he handled, including devices used by local police in Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Somerset, and Union counties between 2008 and 2016.