Can You Challenge a Traffic Stop in New Jersey?

You’ve been pulled over by New Jersey law enforcement officers, submitted to a blood alcohol test and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol after registering a level of intoxication above the legal limit. Should you simply plead guilty and accept the consequences? Not necessarily…if there are legitimate grounds to challenge the traffic stop, you may be able to have the charges dismissed.

Under the U.S. Constitution, all persons have a right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. For a search to be considered reasonable, law enforcement officers must show that probable cause existed. With respect to a traffic stop, that means that the police officer must have either witnessed illegal activity or have a reasonable belief that you have or are in the process of committing an illegal act. It’s important to understand that the officer need not suspect that you have been drinking and driving—any traffic violation is sufficient to pull you over. In addition, if you match the profile of a person sought by the police for another crime, that can constitute probable cause.

The police cannot, pursuant to the 4th Amendment, make random traffic stops to determine whether a law has been broken. However, a roadblock haw been held to constitute a legal search, as all motorists are potentially subject to the same actions. In fact, it’s not necessary that police stop every vehicle, as long as the basis for determining which cars will be stopped is neutral and predetermined (for example, every third car).

Once you have been detained, the police officer has the right to ask you questions. Unless and until the officer takes you into custody, there’s no right to read you the Miranda warnings established by the U.S. Supreme Court. Those warnings include the disclosure that anything you say can be used against you in court, as well as notification of your right to have an attorney present for all questioning. If you are arrested, but the officer waits to read you your rights until you arrive at the police station, anything you say during the ride to the station will generally be inadmissible.

Contact Jack Venturi Law

Our team has the experience,  skill, knowledge, and resources to aggressively protect your rights. For a confidential consultation, contact us online or call us toll-free at(732) 837-2187. We represent clients throughout Middlesex County, Union County, Mercer County, Monmouth County, Essex County, and Somerset County.