In New Jersey, law enforcement personnel use sobriety checkpoints to detect drivers impaired by alcohol and/or drugs. Such sobriety checkpoints, which are used throughout the state from Holmdel in Monmouth County to Somerdale in Camden County, have been held constitutional by the Unites States Supreme Court as long as local police and other law enforcement personnel follow required guidelines.
While local law enforcement personnel do not always announce the location of upcoming sobriety checkpoints, it is not uncommon for the number of checkpoints to increase during the holiday season.
Driving While Intoxicated in New Jersey
If you make the mistake of driving home after a Sunday football game or a holiday party after a few drinks and are you are charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI), the first thing to do is contact an experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer. There are several possible defenses to a DWI that might apply to your situation including:
- Miranda Warning Violations: In the state of New Jersey, DWI is considered a traffic offense, but it is still necessary for law enforcement to advise you of your Miranda Rights if you are in custody and they question you. Your statements may be excluded from evidence if you were questioned while you were in custody for DWI and law enforcement did not first read your Miranda rights.
- Field Testing: Although law enforcement continues to use field testing, many experts agree that such forms of testing are not reliable. The New York Times Magazine reported in July 2016 that portable field tests result in false positives.
- Probable Cause: In a typical DWI case, a driver is pulled over to the side of the road by an officer who has probable cause that the individual was driving while intoxicated. This type of probable cause does not apply if you were stopped at a checkpoint in order for the local police to review your license and registration. Even at a sobriety checkpoint, however, there must still be probable cause before you are arrested. This requires that there is enough evidence for any reasonable officer to believe that you were driving while intoxicated.
- Breath Test Challenges: Even though a breathalyzer test is not as accurate as a blood test, it is routinely used in DWI cases. There can be any number of challenges to a breathalyzer test that may apply to your case. If the machine was not working properly or the officer lacked necessary training, it may be possible to challenge the test results on your behalf. It may also be possible to challenge the breath test results if the officer had appropriate training, yet failed to properly use the machine.
There are many other possible defenses to a DWI traffic offense, but only a New Jersey DWI lawyer can determine which are applicable to your specific case.
Contact a New Jersey DWI Attorney at HCK Today
The penalties for driving while intoxicated are severe and can include fines, a suspended license, community service or even prison, depending on the exact nature of the violation, as well as any prior charges. The experienced DWI lawyers at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. understand how these penalties effect both you and your family. Call our attorneys today to prepare the best possible defense on your behalf.