New Jersey Drunk Driving Laws
There is significant variation across the country regarding the circumstances under which courts permit the police to detain a suspected drunk driver based on an anonymous tip. Review of the common elements found in the various approaches indicates that the three-part test formulated by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is fairly representative of the nature of the inquiry: (1) the tip must include a sufficiently broad “range of details”; (2) the tip must predict the suspect’s future movements rather than simply describing easily observable conduct; and (3) the future movements must be verified by independent police observation. Thus, if you are detained for DWI based on an anonymous tip, your New Jersey DWI attorney will need to argue that the tip did not sufficiently predict your future movements to justify the detention.
Anonymous tip detention cases are decided largely on the specific facts of each case. For instance, in a case in which the anonymous informant accurately predicted when the suspect was leaving her apartment, what car she was driving, and where she was going, the Florida Supreme Court held that the tip contained sufficient predictability of the suspect’s future movements to justify the detention. On the other hand, in a case where the police had no information about the informant and the tip stated only that the suspect would be wearing a plaid shirt and carrying a gun, the court deemed the detention unlawful.
In light of the importance of the level of predictability in the tip and the anonymous tipster’s reliability, your New Jersey DWI attorney will conduct a thorough factual inquiry during the investigation phase of your case in order to verify that your detention was legal. If his or her investigation shows that the anonymous tip failed to satisfy the test set forth by the court in your jurisdiction, the DWI charge against you may be dropped.