Charged With DWI Following Equipment Violation Stop

Skilled DWI Defense Lawyers To Contest a Stop

A common reason for a motor vehicle stop is a suspected equipment violation, including failure to activate lights. The authority of police to undertake a stop of this nature is based on the fact that the New Jersey Division of Motor Vehicles (“NJDMV”) requires that all registered vehicles be properly equipped. If someone operates a car, truck, or motorcycle that fails to adhere to the equipment requirements of NJDMV, a police officer possesses justification to stop a vehicle.  If you were stopped by police for a bad break light, a headlamp being out, or some other equipment problem, we can help you. An attorney at our driving while intoxicated defense firm is available 24/7 and initial DWI consultations are always without charge. We hope you find the information provided on this page to be of assistance and do not hesitate to contact us if you need further assistance.

Non-Operating Lights

In accordance with N.J.S.A. 39:3-46 and 39:3-47, a motor vehicle must be equipped with proper lights and they must be illuminated whenever sun has set, conditions otherwise create a need for illumination (i.e. rain, snow, fog or other conditions) or when wipers are in operation. If an individual fails to turn on his or her lights or the lights are inoperative when they should be illuminated, then police possess a reasonable basis to stop the vehicle.

Tinted Windows

N.J.S.A. 39:4-74 of New Jersey law prohibits vehicles from having non-transparent materials affixed to windows or lights. Despite this prohibition, a surprisingly high number of car and truck windows are tinted and this results in many traffic stops in the state. What you need to know is that all tinting is not illegal — only tint that fails to meet the standards set by federal regulation and/or NJ Administrative Code.

License Plates

One of the weaker rationales for a DWI stop in my book is the obscured license plate. The reality is, nonetheless, that a police officer has legal basis to stop an individual based on a dirty, obscured or illegible license plate. A good example where this crops up is where a plate has a tinted shield in front of it or where the plate light is out. Another situation where a 39:3-33, 29-3-33.9, or 39:3-77 summons crops up is where a vehicle fails to have a front license plate.

What If Police Are Mistaken About the Violation?

While it is true that police are insulated from certain mistakes when it comes to stopping a vehicle, their actions must always be reasonable or they are invalid. Under this rationale, an equipment stop made in error (i.e. the equipment was not in violation of law) will not be condoned by the court. A DWI offense arising out of such a stop would be subject to dismissal based on an improper motor vehicle stop.

Please do not hesitate to give us a call for further assistance at 877-450-8301.