Typically, the police must harbor a reasonable suspicion that a person is engaging in unlawful activity to effectuate a traffic stop. As such, if they stop a person without just cause, any evidence obtained during the stop may ultimately be deemed inadmissible, making it very difficult for the prosecution to prove the defendant committed any crime. As discussed in a recent opinion issued by a New Jersey Court in a DWI case, there is, thought, an exception for instances in which officers are acting in their community care taking role. If you are charged with a DWI offense, you should consult a skilled New Jersey DWI defense lawyer to assess your potential defenses.
The Defendant’s Arrest
It is reported that the police were dispatched following a 911 call that reported an SUV was stopped in a road near an intersection. The caller advised that she observed the vehicle for three minutes and noticed that the driver’s head was hanging down and he was not moving. She reported she called 911 because she was concerned that he might need medical attention. When officers arrived at the scene, they found the defendant in an SUV, sitting as described by the 911 caller.
Allegedly, when they spoke with the defendant, they noticed he was lethargic, had difficulty completing sentences, and was rambling. Additionally, his eyes were bloodshot and watery. They administered field sobriety tests, which the defendant failed. He was arrested and charged with DWI. He was convicted as charged. He then appealed, arguing in part that his arrest constituted an unlawful violation of his fourth amendment rights because the investigating officers did not have probable cause to arrest him for DWI. Continue reading