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Police increase DWI checkpoints during holiday season in NJ

On Behalf of | Dec 17, 2020 | Firm News

Police in New Jersey are always on the lookout for impaired drivers, and law enforcement officials are serious about prosecuting intoxicated driving charges. In addition, law enforcement members also recognize that more instances of driving under the influence happen around the holidays. In order to combat the issue, along with an effort to bring awareness that they are out there watching, police officers throughout the state will be conducting checkpoints and roadblocks in certain locations during the holidays checking for impaired drivers.

Rules for police officers at a checkpoint

While the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the legality of DWI checkpoints, officers still do not have carte blanche for constitutional violations. Reasonable suspicion can still play a role. Checkpoint plans must be submitted to a supervisor and meet certain criteria before being approved. The checkpoint must also be published in advance and have safety signage in prominent display, which is typically flashing blue lights.

Understanding your rights at a DWI checkpoint

Constitutional protections still exist at a DWI checkpoint with respect to the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments regarding non-governmental interference guarantees. Drivers are not required to speak to officers, but they are required to show driving authorization such as driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations. This requirement includes proof of insurance as well. Having pertinent information readily available with a written notification of no intention to talk to an officer can be used.

Attorney recommendations

New Jersey DWI attorneys will stress that it is important to be non-combative when dealing with police officers because they do have substantial power in conducting investigations. Regardless of law enforcement’s eagerness to conduct a search, drivers still have the right to talk to an attorney at the time of any questioning, including at DWI checkpoints.