Monday, June 25, 2012


The ball game ended at 11:30. Once again the Mets' bullpen blew it. That noted at this late hour I thought to give some info regarding the breathalyzer testing without going into detail about the different types.

In New Jersey if you get arrested for a DUI, you must take a Breathalyzer test. When you get your license in New Jersey, you give consent for this test, known as "implied consent." If you refuse to take a Breathalyzer test, you will be detained and brought to a hospital where hospital staff may draw blood. Without that "implied consent" the procedure of having blood drawn at the hospital would be a violation of the 5th Amendment;" nor shall be compelled to be a witness against himself".

If you refuse a Breathalyzer test, you will face the same loss of driving privileges as a
DUI offense. But, I am not sure what the charge is. Unless there is obvious impairment DUI can not be proven.

I have no knowledge how the decision about impaired judgment and/or function at certain blood levels were established. Whether the 0.08 level represented a mean above which all individuals exhibited symptoms or it picked as the upper limit of normalcy because no one exhibited difficulty at that level.

However the American Medical Association says that a person can become impaired when the blood alcohol level hits 0.05

For many years, the legal standard for drunkenness across the United States was 0.10, but many states have now adopted the 0.08 standard. The federal government has pushed states to lower the legal limit. If a person's BAC measures 0.08, it means that there are 0.08 grams of alcohol per 100 ml of blood.

Research indicates that breath tests can vary at least 15% from actual blood alcohol concentration. An estimated 23% of individuals tested will have a BAC reading higher than their true BAC. Police in Victoria, Australia, use breathalyzers that give a recognized 20% tolerance on readings. Noel Ashby, former Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner (Traffic & Transport), claims that this tolerance is to allow for different body types.

None the less; the law is definitive and does not provide for cognitive and motor testing for those that just are above the 0.08 level although there may be some abnormalities in the actual level.

The Chief, if there cannot be proven to be any improprieties in the testing, and ambient temperatures have been known to affect readings as well as the training of the test administrator, is guilty by the law. It is sad but it matters not if the reading is 0.09 or 0.16.

The other question that cannot be answered is; was the Chief a subject of profiling?
At 1 am it would be hard to determine by a patrolman if the driver of a car was a young adult or an older black woman; groups that surrounding forces are notorious for stopping for various moving vehicle offenses.

As I wrote before the fact that at an early morning hour if there
was no traffic at a green light in the left turn lane and no cars being passed on the right the driving through on the left turn lane was just nit-picking

Since there was plenty of time between New York Ave and New Market Road for the officer to stop the violating vehicle, that action must have precipitated the stop.
I am sure that the news media which jumped on this “criminal” event can supply us with further details which led to the Chief’s arrest.

NOTE: In these two blogs I do not intend to judge or condemn Chief Tidwell; I consider him to be a most competent sincere professional and an invaluable asset to the community. I only wish that I could feel the same about others in various levels of authority and responsibility of all segments of our city governance.

I urge all not to adjudge him until all facts are known, and consider if it could under some possible not propable circumstance be you.


  1. The Courier is a rag when it has nothing to print, so it jumps on the nearest non-story and tries to make it a story. This too will pass. We have bigger fish to fry in Plainfield with our sub-par mayor and her inability to do what we need to make Plainfield a better place to live.

  2. Any decent Lawyer will get the Chief off as is probably appropriate.

  3. Wasn't he driving the city vehicle? Hard to mistake that.

  4. Even a Philadelphia paper picked this story up. I am not passing judgment one way or the other, but how many times in the Chief's career did he run into a fire and save lives - was that ever in the newspapers?

  5. This a a case of personal responsibility.

    The Chief was operating a city-owned vehicle. Was it the vehicle provided to his office for emergency use? If so, does it not have distinctive markings which would make it "stand out" from other vehicles on the road?

    Would it not cause concern if a police officer noted this vehicle being driven erratically?

    Another question: could it have been the use of the cell phone cause the mishandling of the vehicle? Research has shown that drivers using cell phone are a hazard to them selves and others on the road.

    These questions will possibly or probably be answered as the time moves on.

    The bottom line is understanding your position and being responsibile.