It would appear that Middle Township in Cape May County was probably not the best place to drive drunk during 2012, at least according to news articles that reported one of the township’s officers recently received the “Top Gun” award for that county. It should be noted that as a former municipal prosecutor here in the Garden State, I have great respect for our law enforcement professionals; the people who serve their communities and place their lives on the line every day all across this state.
Despite good intentions, however, there are instances where police officers may arrest a person and erroneously charge him or her with an offense without sufficient supporting evidence. This is where attorneys like me and my knowledgeable team of experienced DWI defense lawyers can come to the aid of motorists who may have been falsely accused of drunk driving or drug DUI. It is entirely understandable that law enforcement agencies want to curb drinking and driving, but there are limitations to how the police may go about this task.
As we are quick to point out here at my law firm, there must be legal justification for any traffic stop that results in a drunken driving arrest. The Constitution of the United States, as well as that of the state of New Jersey, has wording that protects motorists from unreasonable traffic stops. This is to say that the police, be they the local cops or state troopers, can only stop a driver given a legitimate reason to do so under the law. Quite simply, just a hunch that a person is maybe drunk behind the wheel is not sufficient legal justification for a motor vehicle stop.
For anyone who finds himself on the receiving end of a DWI or drug DUI summons, it is important to note that an officer must have what the law defines as an “articulable and reasonable suspicion” that a violation of the state’s traffic law has been committee prior to pulling a driver over. Certainly, if you or someone you know has been charged with drunken driving under questionable circumstance, we highly recommend that you contact a qualified drunk driving defense attorney for a consultation on your case.
As for the news story that caught our eye, it is common for state and county officials to encourage police officers who show initiative in course of their duties. One of these is enforcement of the state’s DWI-DUI laws. According to the news article we read, a Middle Twp. officer was honored not long ago as having the highest rate of DWI-related arrests in Cape May County.
Based on those reports, Middle Township Police Officer Allison Akke arrested 18 people in 2012 for driving while intoxicated. The 25-year-old officer from the Del Haven area reportedly averaged one or two drunk driving arrested each month in the 2012 calendar year. According to the news article, many of those arrests came from traffic stops conducted along stretches of Rte 9, Rte 47, North Wildwood Blvd., and Wildwood Blvd.
Middle officer tops county in DWI arrests, ShoreNewsToday.com, April 04, 2013