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New Jersey Traffic Stop and DWIs

Except in cases where equal protection issues are implicated, an improper motivation for a DWI stop does not invalidate the stop itself. The standard is that the police officer must have an “objectively reasonable basis” for making the stop, such as a traffic violation or something similar. Whether or not there was a pretext for the stop, such as the desire to look for drugs, is irrelevant so long as the officer had an objectively reasonable basis for the stop. If you were stopped and cited with a DWI, call a New Jersey DWI lawyer to discuss your case.

There are nearly an unlimited number of reasons police give for making a stop and which serve as their “objectively reasonable basis.” There are, however, a few regularly occurring reasons which police furnish. One such example is weaving within the lane while driving. Though this is a common basis for a stop, courts throughout the country have ruled differently regarding its propriety. If your DWI stop was the result of weaving within the lane, a qualified and professional New Jersey DWI lawyer may be able to support your defense.

The general rule is that weaving within the lane provides a reasonable basis to stop a vehicle on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, so long as the weaving continues for a substantial distance. What constitutes a substantial distance, however, will depend on the court.

In a California case, the court found that three-quarters of a mile was a substantial distance, partially because the weaving was continuous. A Texas case, however, found that weaving within the lane between two and seven times over a mile and a half was insufficient to detain the car. This was particularly true because, in this case, the police officer was uncertain of the number of times the driver weaved.