Police in Edison Township make a lot of arrests for DUI. Most of these occur after the driver’s vehicle is stopped for a traffic violation such as speeding, tailgating or passing a school bus. In Edison, most traffic tickets, including DWI, are issued on Route 1, Routes 27 and 287.
Some ways to challenge a DWI are based on pre-arrest issues. Here are some pre-arrest defenses to a DWI (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50) charge in Edison:
- The police cannot articulate a good enough reason to have pulled over your car in the first place. In order to stop your vehicle, the police must have what is known as “reasonable suspicion.” That you have broken a traffic or criminal law. If the police pulled you over for no good reason and later conducted sobriety tests or breath testing on you, those tests may be thrown out.
- After stopping your car, the police did not have enough reason to justify detaining you and making you perform sobriety tests. This is an important issue, but it sometimes gets looked over. Even if you are pulled over for a valid reason this does not give justify the police automatically detaining you for standard field sobriety testing. Rather, the officer still has to have reasonable suspicion that you are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This can be the smell of alcohol, slurred speech, etc.
- There was no probable cause to arrest you for drunk driving. If, after conducting a valid motor vehicle stop, finding reasonable suspicion to conduct sobriety tests, and then conducting these tests, the officer reasonably believes they have probable cause to arrest you, they will place you under arrest for drunk driving. These tests all have weaknesses and may be challenged. If your DWI defense attorney can convince the judge that there was not enough evidence to support probable cause, the results of any breathalyzer or alcotest testing may be thrown out.
- The police cannot prove that you intended to operate or drove the vehicle in the first place. While this may seem obvious, some of these cases are close calls. In one published case, a patron stumbled out of a bar, walked over to her care, got inside and put the keys into the ignition. Her DWI conviction was affirmed on appeal. However, we have had success in defending DUI arrests on this issue. These issues are very fact-sensitive.
- The police cannot prove that you actually operated the vehicle. In order for you to be convicted of a New Jersey DWI, the police must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you drove the vehicle. In some cases, the defendant flees before the police can respond to an accident. If there is a long gap in time between the alleged operation and the time when the defendant is caught, this may be used to beat the DWI case. The longer the time, the stronger the defense. It hurts though if the case is in a rural area. Better to be in an urban area where there are bars and liquor stores where it is possible for the drinking to have later taken place. See also the so-called “glove-box” cases.