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Is it legal for New Jersey police to conduct sobriety roadblocks?

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a common criminal offense in New Jersey. People who would otherwise never break the law can still choose to get behind the wheel after a few drinks. Doing so endangers others and violates state laws on safe driving. Those who get caught driving after drinking or taking drugs will face criminal charges.

There are many ways in which New Jersey enforces its ban against impaired driving. One of them is by sending officers out on the road to monitor the flow of traffic. These officers may catch people who are speeding, as well as those driving in a manner that shows signs of impairment. Other times, they may focus more specifically on impaired driving.

New Jersey law enforcement may set up roadblocks or checkpoints where they speak to every driver who crosses their path. If you got stopped as part of the checkpoint, you would likely wonder if such broad law enforcement activities are legal and what your options may be.

Yes, sobriety checkpoints are legal

Many people inaccurately believe that roadside checkpoints or roadblocks are unconstitutional or otherwise against the law. However, that belief is nothing more than an urban legend. Both at a state and federal level, sobriety checkpoints are legal.

The United States Supreme Court has ruled that the use of roadblocks and checkpoints does not violate civil rights of individuals on the road. This is, in part, because driving is a privilege, not a right. It's also because checkpoints or roadblocks indiscriminately stop everyone along a particular roadway.

If you find yourself caught up in a sobriety checkpoint and arrested, you could face valid criminal charges as a result of that arrest. However, simply because you got arrested and charged with a DWI in New Jersey does not mean that a conviction or guilty plea is inevitable. You still have the chance to defend against the pending charges you face.

People arrested during checkpoints still have defense options

Although anyone facing criminal charges has a presumption of innocence under the law, many people do not feel like it is possible to defend against DWI charges. However, they are misinformed. There are many different successful defense strategies available to those facing DWIs. From exploring medical issues that could have compromised roadside sobriety testing to questioning the chain of custody for the evidence used in your case, there are many potential strategies.

Discussing the details of your situation with an experience New Jersey criminal defense attorney is the best thing to do if you find yourself facing a DWI because of a roadside checkpoint. You can determine what strategies could benefit your situation and take steps to limit the consequences you face as a result of your arrest.

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