What You Should Know About Probable Cause for DWI Traffic Stops in the Garden State
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) charges in the state of New Jersey often stem from drivers making a driving violation, which leads to a lawful traffic stop. For those who have been arrested and charged with DWI in the Garden State, it is important that they reach out to a knowledgeable DWI attorney for their state to assist with their case and defend them in court.
An Officer Must Have Probable Cause
For a law enforcement officer at make a lawful arrest, he or she must have “probable cause.” Probable cause means the law enforcement officer has a reasonable, articulate suspicion that the driver has violated a traffic law and can conduct a traffic stop – put more simply, the officer needs to have reason to believe the driver has committed a crime. For example, if the driver was speeding, he or she was in violation of the speed limit, giving the officer probable cause to perform a traffic stop.
Generally, driving behaviors indicating drunk driving that can also be probable cause include speeding, swerving, driving the wrong way, running a traffic light or stop sign, or causing an accident. Once the law enforcement officer has initiated the traffic stop, he or she can then gather further evidence based on the driver’s behavior during their interactions. If the officer believes the driver is intoxicated, he or she may request that the driver take a breathalyzer test or perform a series of roadside sobriety tests.
What if Your Stopped Without Probable Cause and Given a DWI?
Should the results of the sobriety tests or breathalyzer test indicate the driver is indeed intoxicated, it gives the officer enough evidence to make a valid arrest. This is the typical process of a DWI arrest when the driver performed a traffic violation, but what happens when the driver did not violate a traffic law and was pulled over without probable cause? If it can be proved in court that the driver was not pulled over for a valid traffic violation, it is possible for the DWI charge to be dismissed.
Getting Legal Counsel is Necessary
If drivers believe they were pulled over unlawfully, it is, again, very important for them to seek the legal counsel of a knowledgeable DWI attorney to represent their case in court. This legal professional can look for evidence that the traffic stop was not valid, thereby making the DWI arrest inadmissible, and the charges could then be dropped against the driver. Being charged and convicted of DWI in the state of New Jersey is a very serious crime, and one that drivers should defend themselves against in court to the best of their ability.
Taryn J. White is a legal research specialist and DUI law news reporter. Her current accomplishments include helping those facing any driving under the influence arrest charges, get free online assistance in learning how to fight a DUI case for the best possible outcome.