The Legality of New Jersey Checkpoints

tunnelWere you arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) at a New Jersey checkpoint? If so, you need to reach out to a New Jersey DWI attorney without delay. DUI charges should never be taken lightly because they can have serious adverse consequences for an individual’s life. With years of experience, we understand the nuances of this area of law and can apply our knowledge to your case. We can analyze the situation and determine the validity of your arrest.

Both the United States and the New Jersey Supreme Courts have ruled that sobriety checkpoints are constitutional, although some states prohibit their use. In New Jersey, these checkpoints are allowed as long as they do not violate the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures, and police must follow certain guidelines.

In New Jersey, a sobriety checkpoint must be announced to the public in advance. Vehicles are required to be selected by a mathematical formula, the checkpoints must be maintained in a safe manner for both police officers and motorists, and the time for each stop must be minimal, simply giving the officers a chance to check for overt signs of impairment. In addition, checkpoints must clearly be marked and permit an alternate route around the checkpoint if drivers do not want to stop. Police officers cannot merely stop drivers for using the alternate route. However, a driver who avoids the checkpoint and shows obvious signs of intoxication or commits a traffic law violation can be stopped on the basis of probable cause.

If you are stopped at a checkpoint, police can ask you to get out of your car to conduct a field sobriety test if they suspect you may be inebriated. But police cannot search your vehicle without your permission. If you are found to have a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or greater, you will be placed under arrest for a DWI.

Upon your arrest, you must be read your Miranda rights, which consist of the following warnings:  you have the right to remain silent; anything you say can be used against you in a court of law; you have the right to an attorney; and if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you. However, you should be aware that if you are questioned during a traffic stop before your arrest, you are not entitled to Miranda warnings, and anything you say still can be used against you.

As with any other police stop, sobriety checkpoints require that police officers behave in a professional manner and do not infringe on any of your constitutionally protected rights. If you were arrested at a checkpoint that was set up illegally, you may have a valid defense. Additionally, if you suspect that your rights were violated, you need to speak to a experienced New Jersey DWI attorney without delay. Our firm can review the facts of your case and aggressively fight to defend you and your freedom. To learn more about your legal rights and options, call us at 877-450-8301 or reach out to us online.

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