A Fierce Advocate For

Clients’ Rights

It Started Off As A Traffic Stop And Turned Into A DWI Charge

Police traffic stops are notorious for being opportunities to pile on charges, and drunk driving allegations are no exception. When you’re driving, the cops should presume that you are innocent unless and until they see you doing something wrong. A traffic stop should not be a chance for them to over-police.

When it comes to your rights, you need a lawyer as experienced in criminal defense as attorney Michael J. Beatrice. With his legal acumen, you can trust that your future is in good hands. For a free appointment, call his firm, Michael J. Beatrice, P.C., Attorney at Law, at 201-897-3570.

Your Rights And Responsibilities During A Traffic Stop

If you see flashing lights in your rearview mirror on a New Jersey road, knowing your rights and responsibilities is essential. As a driver in Bergen County, it is crucial to understand what you can and cannot do during a traffic stop as well as what is expected of you.

These are some of the rights you have during a New Jersey traffic stop:

  • Recording the encounter: In New Jersey, it is legal to record your traffic stop. This can be vital in protecting your rights. Keep your device in a location where you can easily access it without causing alarm.
  • Refusing a vehicle search: You have the right to refuse to consent to a vehicle search unless the officer performing the traffic stop has probable cause or a valid search warrant.
  • Refusing to provide citizenship status: You are not required to disclose your citizenship or immigration status during a traffic stop.

Driving in New Jersey means that you have agreed to its implied consent laws. This means that if an officer pulls you over and suspects you of driving while intoxicated (DWI), you must submit to breath or blood testing (you can, however, refuse field sobriety testing). Refusal can lead to penalties, such as fines and license suspension.

When navigating a traffic stop, knowledge is power. If you have any questions about DWI stops or need to protect yourself after one, reach out to an experienced Bergen County DWI lawyer.

Creating A Defense Strategy That Works

There are many possible routes a defense could take, but there are a few underlying questions that will determine exactly which one is best. First, it is important to determine:

  • The underlying reason for the stop: If a traffic stop is not warranted, that may mean a violation of your rights. If so, the court may dismiss your case on those grounds alone.
  • Why the stop escalated: The police have a limited set of circumstances under which they can turn a regular traffic stop into a DWI stop (for instance, the presence of an open container of alcohol).
  • How the police determined intoxication levels: Field sobriety testing can be unreliable. Even a breath test is subject to error.

Any number of issues with these underlying factors can mean dismissal, especially if either you were not legally drunk or the stop was zealous.

Your Rights Matter. Contact Our DWI Defense Lawyers For A Free Consultation

With more than 45 years of experience, former prosecutor-turned-defense attorney Michael J. Beatrice is a strong fighter who can take on challenging cases. With offices in both Hackensack and Mahwah, New Jersey, call  201-897-3570 and ask for a free consultation.

Recommended Reading

What are your rights during a DWI traffic stop?

What you should know about DWI per se

What happens after refusing a breath test in New Jersey?