Driving while intoxicated (DWI) tends to spike around certain holidays and the Fourth of July is one of them. To deter drunk driving, police departments often set up checkpoints to catch intoxicated drivers. If you have been arrested for a DWI at a checkpoint, it is crucial to contact a New Jersey DWI attorney who can defend you. At our firm, we understand how overzealous police officers can be in charging people with a DWI, especially on a holiday like Independence Day when they actively look for drunk drivers. We will investigate the legality of the checkpoint and examine your case for any procedural errors made by police that could be used in your defense.
As the Fourth of July holiday approaches, police departments across New Jersey have planned sobriety checkpoints in hopes to discourage the public from getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. Unfortunately, deadly accidents tend to spike on Independence Day. In fact, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has found that the Fourth of July is the most dangerous day to be on the road and alcohol plays a large part in that. Not only can alcohol lead to deadly wrecks between cars, alcohol can also be a factor in pedestrian deaths. Even when it is not a major holiday, drunk driving is a major problem in the United States. Data from the National Highway Safety Administration reveals that 10, 874 people were killed in alcohol-related accidents across the country in 2017. Of the 624 traffic deaths that took place in New Jersey, about 125 of them were a result of the involvement of alcohol.
While DWI checkpoints are prohibited in some states, New Jersey is not one of them. However, in order for a checkpoint to be legal, certain criteria must be met. In other words, the police are not permitted to make a roadblock wherever they want and whenever they feel like it. Rather, the check point must be temporary and set up at a specified location, date and time; a supervisory authority must have established the checkpoint; the public must be given prior notice about the checkpoint; the checkpoint must have been created in the interest of public safety or law enforcement goals; and the procedures used at the checkpoint must be specific and neutral.
If you were arrested for a DWI at an unlawful checkpoint then you can challenge the constitutionality of the charges against you and potentially have them reduced, or in the best-case scenario, dismissed altogether.
If you were charged with a DWI at a checkpoint, you need to contact a New Jersey DWI attorney as soon as possible. Whether it is your first offense or a subsequent one, we can help. With extensive experience in this area of law, we understand the strict legal criteria that needs to be met in order to have a lawful checkpoint, and we also understand the procedures and protocols that police officer must follow at such locations. When you come to us, you can rest assured that we will review any and all potential defense strategies that may be helpful in your case. To learn more, please call us at 877-450-8301 or contact us online today.