Can I Fight a DUI Checkpoint Charge in New Jersey?

  • DWI

It is normal to feel nervous when facing DUI charges for either driving while intoxicated or refusing to take the test altogether. If you are convicted of it in New Jersey, the penalties can be quite harsh.

Not to worry because DUI checkpoint charges can be dismissed in court, if the police department failed to comply with the required guidelines. A DWI law firm in New Jersey can defend you and fight for your freedom.

While the U.S. Constitution protects everyone from searches and seizures, DUI checkpoints are an exception in New Jersey. The strict regulations governing them ensure that your rights on the road are protected, and everyone else is safe.

Where Can I Source Information to Fight My DUI Checkpoint Charges?

When implementing a DUI checkpoint, law enforcement agencies are supposed to keep a police packet. It lays out details on the procedures followed before and during the checkpoint.

Your attorney can obtain these records from the prosecutor as the first step in the discovery process. Your narration of events can guide the lawyer in finding tangible pieces of evidence in the police packet to use in battling for your freedom.

What Criteria Should a DUI Checkpoint Meet?

If you are stopped and charged at a DUI checkpoint that did not meet the required criteria, you can easily fight those charges with the help of a Toms River DUI attorney. A checkpoint is only valid if;

  • The local law enforcement is supervising it appropriately
  • There has been a history of DUI in the area
  • The checkpoint had been approved beforehand
  • The checkpoint was published to the public in advance

What Can We Challenge?

A New Jersey DWI checkpoints lawyer can analyze your situation and develop a defense that can save you from losing your driving rights, paying hefty fines, and a possible jail term. Here are aspects that can be challenged:

  • The alcohol 7110 machine
  • The field sobriety test
  • The 20-minute observation period
  • The motor vehicle stoppage

Note that the breathalyzer machine can be faulty at times and can give a false representation of your intoxication levels.

How Can I Challenge the Establishment of the Checkpoint

The police cannot put up a DWI checkpoint without instructions from the supervisory authority. It is illegal for officers to use their discretion to establish a random, temporary checkpoint.

Your Toms River DWI attorney will seek information on all law enforcement personnel’s names at the checkpoint to determine if they followed the right procedure and if there are any loopholes that can form the basis of the defense.

How Can I Challenge the Stoppage Basis?

You can challenge a DUI charge if you think the officers profiled you at the checkpoint. Usually, the administrative officer sets rules way before the checkpoint is established to ensure that motorists are stopped on an impartial basis.

The administrative officer may instruct the officers to stop every five cars and let the next two pass. If the officers fail to follow this procedure in stopping you, you can challenge the charges and have them dropped.

How Can I Prove a Lack of Impartiality in the Process?

Another critical part of the research done by attorneys is interviewing other motorists arrested at the same checkpoint on the same day. If all or a majority have a specific appearance or are from a particular age, ethnicity, or race, it can prove that the officers were biased.

Can the Location of the Checkpoint Be Challenged?

A skilled attorney can question the location of the checkpoint and earn you your freedom. There needs to be a history of alcohol-related accidents, or the police ought to have made numerous DUI arrests in the exact location before.

Most checkpoints are located in areas where people are likely to consume alcohol, for instance, concerts, nightspots, and sporting events. If the location is considered unreasonable, you cannot be implicated for DWI/DUI violation.

What is considered Safety Precaution in a Checkpoint?

A checkpoint meets the required safety standards if vehicles can stop safely and navigate the traffic. There should be clear warning signage to notify motorists of a checkpoint ahead and adequate lighting. But if you can prove that safety wasn’t a primary concern, your charges can be dropped.

Remember that the law does not oblige you to remain on the road with a checkpoint ahead. And as long as you turned off without breaking any traffic rules, you should not be detained for choosing not to get there.

What Timing Is Appropriate for a Checkpoint?

If you got arrested at a DUI checkpoint during rush hour, the timing could be considered unreasonable. The supervisor has the responsibility of scheduling the checks at a time that will cause minimal inconvenience to road users.

You can also challenge the period that the officers held you at the checkpoint. You are supposed to wait 20 minutes without chewing gum or engaging in any other activity that can compromise the breathalyzer results. If you are held longer than is reasonable, your right might have been violated.

What if I Refused to Take the Breathalyzer Test?

Refusal to take a breathalyzer test in New Jersey can attract severe penalties. But again, the police should not conduct such tests on you without probable cause. If you have no signs of impairment like incoherent responses, slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, dazed appearance, an odor of alcohol, a further test may be unnecessary.

Remember that the standard signs of impairment can still be challenged. For instance, bloodshot eyes can be related to allergies, and you can fail on field sobriety tests for reasons other than intoxication.

An Attorney to Help Fight for Your Freedom and Driving Rights

New Jersey has been cracking down on several safety issues on the road. In the fight to curtail drunk driving, the state police often make procedural errors that can be challenged.

If you are arrested at a DUI checkpoint in New Jersey, a DUI lawyer could help you fight the charges successfully. An experienced lawyer will use his/her experience and training to prepare a strong defense against your DUI charges. Call us today at (732) 286-2700 to schedule a free consultation.

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Steven W. Hernandez, Board-Certified DUI Attorney