What Police Are Allowed To Do On A DUI Stop

Local and New Jersey State Police are stepping up their efforts to stop those who they suspect are driving under the influence. Police are under pressure to increase stops and arrests, and prosecutors are looking for quick and strong convictions. Penalties for a DUI, even a first-time conviction, include steep fines, possible jail time, and a suspension of license.

Here's the good news: DUI charges can be challenged and beaten. There are a number of ways an experienced attorney can attack the prosecution's case. At Smith & Gaynor, LLC, we understand the stakes involved and are ready to provide personal and effective legal representation. We know how to fight for your future. Contact us online or by phone at 973-532-2661 for a free consultation.

The Legality Of A New Jersey DUI Checkpoint Stop

Are sobriety checkpoints legal? According to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 1990, they are. The Supreme Court held that a checkpoint is legal so long as it is carefully targeted to a specific time and place; that the police must have a reason, supported by data, for choosing that particular place for a checkpoint; and that the cars chosen for the stop are chosen by a formula – every third car for example.

Additionally, the New Jersey Supreme Court found that the checkpoint's location must be based on historical arrest data in that location, and that drivers be given a warning of the checkpoints location via local publication prior to its initiation.

If the police fail to follow any of these steps, and/or make a mistake in the execution of these procedures, the DUI/DWI against you has the potential to be dismissed. The experienced DUI attorneys at Smith & Gaynor, LLC, understand the complexities of these procedures, and as such, how fragile the legality of your DUI stop actually is.

While being detained at a DUI checkpoint, the police can stop you only long enough to ask a few quick and simple questions. They will check for obvious signs of intoxication. If the evidence is not there, you must be allowed to move along. On the other hand, if the officers notice that your speech is slurred, you have alcohol on your breath or otherwise appear to be inebriated, they may have the probable cause they need in order to investigate further.

Probable Cause for Traffic Stops

In order for a police officer to stop your vehicle, they must have a "reasonable and articulable" suspicion that you are in violation of traffic law. This is what is known as "probable cause," and without it, anything discovered after the stop was effectuated is inadmissible in court. Failure to demonstrate probable cause can and will invalidate the State's case. Here are some of the most common violations that serve as probable cause for a traffic stop in New Jersey:

  • Speeding
  • Failure to maintain lane
  • Talking or texting on a cell phone
  • Broken headlight or taillight
  • Obstructed view
  • Driving with a suspended license

All of these violations give a police officer the right to stop your vehicle, and check for signs of driver intoxication.

Want To Learn More? Call Us Today

Robert A. Smith of Smith & Gaynor, LLC, is a certified civil trial attorney committed to building long-lasting partnerships with his clients. His goal is to provide personal but professional legal counsel by building a foundation of honest and open communication. He has successfully represented clients in Bergen, Somerset and Morris counties and throughout New Jersey who faced DUI charges. To learn what Smith & Gaynor, LLC, can do for you, contact us online or call us at 973-532-2661 to schedule your cost-free consultation.

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