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Both the United States and New Jersey constitutions are intended to protect individuals from unreasonable motor vehicle stops. In other words, police cannot stop someone thereby subjecting them to a detention from free movement unless they possess a legitimate reason to do so under the law. If you believe you were stopped unreasonably, the question you are probably asking is when can police legally stop a car, truck or motorcycle? Our attorneys provide a summary answer to this question in the discussion that follows. If you feel you were subject to an unconstitutional DWI stop or otherwise require representation for a DWI charge, a lawyer is available immediately at 877-450-8301 for a free consultation.
What Is Required for Police to Legitimately Stop a Vehicle?
The law requires that the police must have an articulable and reasonable suspicion that a violation of the traffic law has occurred in order for a proper motor vehicle stop. In this regard, it is important to keep in mind that this standard can be based not only on first hand observation of the motorist’s operation by police, but also information provided by third parties—so long as it is reliable as in the case of information provided by other law enforcement (e.g. results of motor vehicle lookup from dispatch, results of state computer lookup on on board computer, radio transmission to be on the look out for the vehicle, etc.).
How is Articulable & Reasonable Suspicion Defined? It is defined as those facts that would reasonably arouse the suspicions of a violation by someone sitting in the same shoes as the police officer involved. This does not mean that the officer reasonable believed, beyond reasonable doubt, that the motorist was guilty of a traffic infraction. His or her belief need only be reasonable in providing suspicion that a violation occurred.
Can An Officer Stop Based on an Anonymous Tip? An anonymous source can only be used as a basis for a stop if it is reliable, something that can only be established through corroboration of facts. What this usually contemplates is that the officer confirms certain facts alleged by the tipster before effectuating the stop. The only exception to this requirement is where the community caretaker function or a valid roadblock apply.
Do not assume that the police stop was valid as it may have been unreasonable under the law, for example, based on mistaken interpretation of the law by the police officer. A New Jersey DWI attorney from our defense firm will thoroughly review the facts of your case free of charge and plot a course for success. Give us a call.