A general DUI traffic stop needs to begin with a valid reason to pull the car over. Examples may include evidence of intoxication, such as swerving all over the road, or an unrelated issue, like a broken taillight. No matter what, though, police can’t just randomly stop cars. They need to have a reason to do so.
The clear exception that you may have heard of is a DUI checkpoint. This is simply a police checkpoint set up on a local road, at which all drivers are required to stop. Most get through quickly and easily, but police can do a more extensive stop if they suspect a driver is under the influence.
It has been argued that these stops should not be allowed because they are, in essence, random stops. Are they legal in the state of New Jersey?
Checkpoints are still legal
Despite the aforementioned view, these checkpoints are legal. New Jersey calls them “sobriety checkpoints.” They note that they’re a very effective tool to use when searching for impaired drivers.
That being said, it’s very important to understand your rights at a checkpoint. You may have simply been driving home, expecting no interaction at all, and you’ll suddenly be subjected to a police interrogation at a checkpoint likely manned by numerous officers. It can be intimidating and stressful, even if you know that you haven’t broken the law in any way and that you’ve been driving safely.
Remember, police have strict rules to follow at checkpoints. If you wind up getting arrested, you must know what legal defense options you have. Remember your right to remain silent until you can obtain experienced legal guidance.