Police and sheriff’s deputies in Monmouth County have a lot of power, but that power is not unlimited. For instance, New Jersey police are not supposed to pull over vehicles randomly to check if the drivers have been drinking alcohol. First, an officer must have a “reasonable and articulable suspicion” that a driver is drinking and driving before they can pull them over for alleged DUI.
What ‘reasonable suspicion’ looks like
Basically, a reasonable suspicion is one that the officer can objectively justify based on their observations of the vehicle. Generally, this includes a driver violating traffic laws or displaying suspicious behavior, such as:
- Repeatedly crossing lane lines or the centerline
- An illegal U-turn
- Speeding or driving too slowly
- Frequent, seemingly unnecessary braking
- Nearly causing a car accident
If an officer observes these types of incidents, they likely will have sufficient reasonable suspicion to pull over the driver. But that does not mean they can immediately make an arrest. The evidence that justifies a police stop is not enough to arrest a motorist for DUI. What it gives the officer is the right to detain the driver and investigate them for enough evidence to have probable cause to make an arrest.
Challenging a bad DUI arrest
And, of course, an arrest is not a conviction. Depending on the evidence and the officer’s conduct during your traffic stop, you might have grounds to get the DUI charges against you dismissed or reduced. For example, it is possible that the officer lacked a reasonable suspicion that you were drinking and driving before they pulled you over. Or the evidence gathered during the stop might not rise to the level of probable cause.