Examining ‘Probable Cause’ in New Jersey DWI Stops

DWI charges in New Jersey must stem from a lawful traffic stop. If you have been arrested or charged with a DWI, it is important to reach out to a hard-working New Jersey DWI attorney who can assess the merits of your case. Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, we may be able to challenge the legality of the traffic stop. You can rest assured that we are committed to protecting your rights at every step of the way.

A police officer must have probable cause in order to make an arrest. Under New Jersey law, having ‘probable cause’ means the police officer must have an articulable and reasonable suspicion that a violation of the traffic laws has taken place in order to make a valid stop. Put simply, probable cause is a reason to believe that a crime was committed. For example, if you are pulled over for speeding, and you were 20 mph above the speed limit, the speeding violation would constitute probable cause for the initial stop. The State must give the defense all of the documentation pertaining to how the speed was ascertained by the officer (i.e., information related to the radar detector used).

Typically, the following driving behaviors that indicate drunk driving will be sufficient probable cause for an officer to stop you:  swerving, excessive speeding, wrong-way driving, erratic driving, running stop signs or traffic lights, or causing an accident. If there was probable cause for the traffic stop, and the officer has reason to believe you may be intoxicated, you may be asked to take a breathalyzer test. If the test reveals that your blood alcohol content is 0.08 percent or more, this is enough to form the basis of a valid arrest.

Unfortunately, in some cases, a person is pulled over and charged with a DWI when he or she was not in violation of the law. If the police officer who pulled you over did not have the legal right to stop you in the first place, any evidence collected as a result of that stop may be ruled inadmissible in court. In other words, if the police officer who pulled you over did not have probable cause to do so, a skilled defense lawyer can file a Motion to Suppress to have the evidence from the stop suppressed and the case potentially thrown out altogether.

DWI charges should not be taken lightly because a DUI conviction can carry heavy penalties, such as fines, license suspension, jail time, and more. Additionally, a DUI conviction can negatively affect almost every aspect of your life, including your personal and professional reputation. If you or someone close to you has been charged with a DWI, you need a skilled New Jersey DWI attorney on your side. With years of experience, we understand the nuances of this area of law and can put our knowledge to use in your case. The stakes are high, and acting quickly is imperative. To discuss your case in more detail, call us at 877-450.8301 or contact us online.

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A Closer Look at Field Sobriety Tests in New Jersey

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