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Reasonable Articulable Suspicion in New Jersey DWI Stop

It is against the law in New Jersey and in every state across the country for police officers to stop and detain motorists at will. Thanks to the Supreme Court ruling in the case of Delaware v. Prouse, police officers are required to have a reasonable and articulable suspicion that a motor vehicle violation or crime is occurring or has occurred before pulling a driver over.

Police can establish reasonable articulable suspicion in one of three ways:

  • Equipment violation, such as a burnt out taillight
  • Moving violation, such as speeding or failing to maintain your lane
  • Registration violation, including an expired tag on your vehicle

Once you have been pulled over, the officer will look for other pieces of evidence to justify beginning a DWI investigation, including:

  • Odor of alcohol
  • Presence of open containers
  • Watery or bloodshot eyes
  • Slurred speech

Although officers are required by law to establish reasonable articulable suspicion before making any traffic stop, they do not always do so.