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Defending Against NJ DWI Checkpoints

We’ve all dealt with them. You are out late, eager to get home to a warm shower and then bed, when suddenly, just up the street, you see the flashing lights of squad cars that can mean only one thing: a sobriety checkpoint. These are often placed in such a way that you can’t turn around. And what can begin as an annoyance can lead to disaster if you test positive for DWI.

An experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer will use a two-step approach in countering the use of the checkpoint in your case. The first consideration is whether the roadblock was the only reason for your being stopped. The arresting officer may have, for instance, seen that you had a burned out headlight and used this as a reason to detain you. The officer may also have waved you over because you allegedly made an improper lane change. Your lawyer will explore this first step in order to gain the concession that the only reason for the stop was the checkpoint.

The second step your DWI lawyer will take is to evaluate the constitutionality of the roadblock. Many jurisdictions require, for instance, prior notice that a checkpoint will be set up at the location; they may also require that signs indicating a checkpoint is ahead are placed in an area allowing for a person to take a detour. The way the checkpoint is operated may also be considered. Questions you may have been asked prior to taking a field sobriety test, for example, may be taken into consideration.