On September 13 the South Brunswick Patch reported that the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign undertaken by the South Brunswick Police Department resulted in eight arrests and 582 summonses issued. The late summer crackdown took place between August 17 and September 3 with the help of a $4,400 grant from the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The heightened watchfulness by led to three South Brunswick DWI arrests.
When Middlesex police departments in the towns of South Brunswick, New Brunswick, Woodbridge, and others engage in heightened DWI activity, they cannot simply pull motorists over based on a “hunch.” In fact, there is a great deal of protocol that a police officer must follow in order to conduct a lawful Middlesex County DWI arrest. This protocol includes the reuirement for an officer to have “probable cause” to pull over a vehicle in the first place. Probable cause includes but is not limited to: license plate light, tail light, brake lights, or headlight out; excessively loud music; excessively wide or narrow turns, swerving, failing to maintain lane; driving too slow; erratic activity within the car; and being observed drinking out of a suspicious bottle or can. It is very possible that the behaviors listed led to the three South Brunswick DWI arrests that resulted from the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign.
Once pulled over for probable cause, an intoxicated motorist can face a DWI charge ONLY if the arresting officer had “reasonable suspicion” to administer the sobriety test in the first place. Reasonable suspicion is a standard of proof that must be demonstrated by an arresting officer and the state in order to obtain a verdict against a suspected drunk driver. If the state fails to establish this standard, then there is effectively no case against the driver. However, reasonable suspicion is not a terribly difficult standard for the state to overcome, as the arresting officer need only provide “a reasonable, articulable suspicion that the defendant is under the influence of alcohol.” There are many factors that can contribute to an officer’s suspicion, including but not limited to:
- Verbal clues
- The physical appearance of the driver (e.g. bloodshot eyes)
- The smell of alcohol or drugs in the car or on the driver
- Other physical indicators (e.g. difficulty handling documentation)
When an officer reasonably suspects that an individual is driving while intoxicated, then he or she can administer a breathalyzer, field sobriety test, or Alcotest 7110. In administering these tests, there are various and specific technicalities and protocol that must be adhered to in order for the test to be valid and for the individual to be charged with a South Brunswick, New Brunswick, or Woodbridge DWI. The attorneys at Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall are highly trained in the specifics of officer protocol and can provide a great asset for you or your loved one in the face of a DWI charge.
The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall is the largest criminal defense firm in the state of New Jersey. Our attorneys have over one hundred combined years of criminal defense and litigation experience as well as unique qualifications that will provide you with skilled representation customized to meet your legal needs. Please feel free to visit one of our three Middlesex County locations, which includes our Iselin office located approximately one mile from the Woodbridge Municipal Court, or contact one of our Middlesex County attorneys by phone at (732) 246-7126.