The police in New Jersey must have probable cause to stop you for drunk driving.  But what if you were stopped, along with everyone else, at an established roadblock or checkpoint?  Can they arrest you then, or have your Fourth Amendment rights been violated?  Well it all depends on whether the police followed the rules in running the roadblock.

What Are the Rules for Roadblocks?

It is well established law, pursuant to a 1990 U.S. Supreme Court case that the use of roadblocks for DWI enforcement is reasonable.  An even earlier NJ appeals court case has even set forth the criteria for a proper roadblock.  For a checkpoint to pass muster, it must

  • Be established under the auspices of established police command authority
  • The area where the roadblock is to take place must be carefully located and targeted at a specific time based on objective data justifying them
  • Adequate warnings must be given to the public near the site of the roadblock

How Do I Challenge a Roadblock?

Even then, a roadblock can be challenged by someone who was stopped and charged with DUI.  The courts consider several factors in determining the constitutionality of the roadblock, including:

  • The degree of discretion, if any, left to the officer in the field
  • Its location
  • Its time and duration
  • Advanced notice to the public at large
  • Degree of fear or anxiety generated by the way the roadblock is executed
  • Average length of time each motorist is detained
  • The availability of less intrusive methods for combating the problem
  • The degree of effectiveness of the procedure

Whenever probable cause to stop and arrest someone for drunk driving in New Jersey is based on a checkpoint, a lot of factors need to be considered very carefully.

If you have been charged with drunk driving in Southern New Jersey, whether or not as a result of a roadblock,please feel free to call me at 856-432-4113 or contact me through this site to schedule a free consultation.

If you are looking for more information on New Jersey's drunk driving law, then download my free book, How Much Trouble Am I In? A Guide to New Jersey Drunk Driving Law.

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Steven J. Richardson
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Bankruptcy, Collections, Student Loan, DUI and Traffic Court attorney in Woodbury, NJ.