We’ve discussed this in previous posts, but it bears repeating once again: The police do not have the legal right to stop a motorist simply because an officer assumes or guesses that the individual behind the wheel is possibly intoxicated. This goes back to the basic New Jersey DWI statutes, which state that a law enforcement officer must have a reasonable and articulable suspicion that a driver has committed a moving violation or other vehicle infraction in order to make a traffic stop.
As New Jersey DWI defense lawyers, my legal team has a great deal of experience in this area. Quite often, motorists contact my firm with the intention of fighting a drunk driving summons or charges related to some other alcohol or drug-related traffic offense. As part of our investigation, we research the facts of the case in order to determine if there were any basic procedural violations on the patrolman’s part. More than once we have found that an officer has made erroneous assumptions about the defendant or his driving style, which then led to a faulty or improper police stop and DWI arrest.
If it can be shown that the officer acted improperly or based the initial traffic stop on less-than-appropriate grounds, there is a good chance that the court will entertain a motion to have the drunk driving charge dismissed or the charges reduced. Unfortunately, many proper police stops come about due to a motorist’s own driving error, which if observed by a municipal cop or state trooper, may result in a roadside stop. If alcohol is involved, there is high likelihood that a summons for driving under the influence will be issued.