When an Unconstitutional Stoppage Leads to DWI Charges in New Jersey
Reasonable Suspicion Defense in NJ DUI Cases
The United States Constitution and New Jersey law do not permit police to stop drivers on a whim. Police must have a reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is ongoing to detain an individual and probable cause to support an arrest. An officer may not stop you solely based on a hunch; that officer must have specific, articulable facts justifying an initial traffic stop. They cannot stop you without reasonable suspicion. In other words, the police officer that pulls you over needs to have a valid reason for stopping your vehicle. Speeding, failure to maintain lane, a broken head or taillight, and a rear view mirror obstruction are perfectly valid reasons to pull you over. Now these stoppages aren’t always cut and dry.
For example, if the officer thinks that you were speeding because it looked like you were going fast, but he has no radar reading, that stoppage can be challenged and potentially thrown out. If an officer states that he pulled you over because you were straddling lanes, but dash cam or other video footage shows that you were driving straight in the middle of your lane, you may be able to successfully challenge the justification for the officer’s traffic stop.
If you undermine the traffic stop, any evidence obtained as a result of that stop, including any admissions to drinking or taking drugs that you may have made, any chemical test results, and any drugs or alcohol found in your car, can be determined to be inadmissible at your trial. Essentially, if the stoppage itself is invalid, then anything the officer discovers afterwards it thrown out. This includes DWI charges, drug possession, gun possession, etc. This can be one of the most effective methods of challenging a DUI prosecution. Forcing the State to prove probable cause for the stoppage frequently gives us a successful defense in many cases. For more information and a free consultation with an experienced DWI lawyer in NJ, contact The Tormey Law Firm now at (201)-556-1570.
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