Traffic stops are the first step in many Municipal Court legal issues including DWI’s, drug offenses, traffic violations, and more. Unfortunately, many New Jersey citizens do not understand their rights during traffic stops, searches, and seizures. This can lead to scenarios where individuals voluntarily waive their rights or become victims of unlawful traffic stops.
Today, our traffic violation attorneys will discuss individual rights during traffic stops, define reasonable suspicion as a cause for pulling you over, and a few methods which may be used to challenge the legality of traffic stops.
What are my Rights During a Traffic Stop in Union County, NJ?
Regardless of the nature of your police interaction, there are several legal rights granted to citizens when they have been pulled over in New Jersey. Our Union County traffic violation lawyers understand that your rights include:
- The right to remain silent. This is line one of the famous Miranda Rights, but how many of us have actually exercised this right in the moment? Cooperating with law enforcement is a great idea, however you do not need to speak or answer any questions
- You may ask for an attorney. Another section of the Miranda Rights, individuals who have been pulled over may ask for an attorney before answering questions or submitting to some tests
- You must be given proper reason for the traffic stop (more on this in the following section)
- You are not required to agree to a search of your vehicle. If you refuse, law enforcement must have probable cause or the belief that you have committed or are about to commit a crime
Union Police Stop Attorney Defines Reasonable Suspicion
Police officers must have a “reasonable suspicion” of wrongdoing in order to pull over a vehicle. This is the basis of the remainder of the traffic stop, and can sometimes be successfully challenged if you gave no reason to the law enforcement officer that you were committing a traffic offense such as driving under the influence. Common, valid reasons to be pulled over include speeding, swerving, erratic driving, ignoring stop signs or traffic lights, and more.
Motorists may also be pulled over as part of a roadblock or DWI checkpoint. As a result of a 1990 Supreme Court Decision, DWI/DUI checkpoints are legal. However, just because the initial traffic stop is legal, does not mean the remainder of your interaction is necessarily permissible. Police must adhere to strict guidelines in order to secure a legal DWI/DUI arrest and conviction.
How to Challenge Traffic Stops: Westfield, NJ Traffic Violation Attorney
There are a wide range of ways that a qualified Westfield traffic violation attorney can challenge a traffic stop. The ways in which a stop can be contested depend heavily on the nature of the incident, why you were pulled over, actions surrounding an arrest (if any took place) and police actions or inactions before, during and after that time. Common methods of contesting a traffic stop include:
- Challenging reasonable suspicion for the stop. If this did not exist, any actions afterwards may not be held against the offender
- Challenging probable cause for search and seizure
- Administration of Blood Alcohol Concentration Tests, field sobriety tests, and more. New Jersey has some of the strictest regulations in the nation when it comes to DWI/DUI convictions
- Unlawful police activities such as failure to identify themselves as law enforcement, failure to read you your Miranda rights, and more
Contact a Linden Traffic Offense Lawyer Today
Municipal Court defense attorney Edward S. Cooper has extensive experience challenging traffic stops for clients across Union County towns including Linden, Westfield, Plainfield, Elizabeth, Union, Scotch Plains, and all of Northern New Jersey. Whether you are facing disorderly persons charges for drug possession, DWI or DUI charges, or driving with a suspended license, we are here to protect you constitutional rights to due legal process. Many times, we are able to have charges reduced or dismissed based on contesting the evidence being used against you. If you are facing serious charges, there is no reason to fight this legal battle alone.