A police officer can stop a car for any legal reason. However, a reason is required, meaning arbitrary, unexplained stops are not permitted under the law. For example, an officer cannot just pull you over to check your driver’s license and registration. If you have been arrested or charged with a DWI in New Jersey, it is imperative to seek the help of a skilled New Jersey DWI attorney who can assess the merits of your case. We can examine the facts of your situation, including the manner in which your vehicle was stopped and the legality of the stop.
In New Jersey, the legal standard for making a traffic stop is “reasonable suspicion.” This is a legal standard that is something more than a hunch and something less than probable cause. The officer must be able to articulate a legal basis for the stop. For example, a police officer may stop a car if the driver is speeding or if the car is not properly registered. It is important to note that an officer’s mistaken belief or understanding of a fact (i.e., the driver had a suspended license) will not be invalidated as long as the officer’s actions were supported by a “reasonable” belief that the related facts were true.
In New Jersey, the offense of driving while intoxicated (DWI) consists of getting behind the wheel with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. Put another way, if you are operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher, you are considered under the influence.