Sobriety checkpoints, or DWI roadblocks, are being increasingly used in New Jersey as part of a larger DWI deterrence program. There are numerous legal issues surrounding the use of these checkpoints, and as a result, only 37 states have authorized their use. New Jersey, alas, is one of them. Their legality has been upheld under both our State and federal Constitutions since 1985, in the seminal case of State of New Jersey vs. Kirk, 202 NJ Super 28 (1985).
In Kirk, our Supreme Court ruled that the dangers of drinking and driving outweigh the intrusion caused by these checkpoints. However, the Court also held that the New Jersey police had to abide by very specific protocols to ensure they remain permissible. Their failure to comply with each one can prove fatal to the States’ case and must be thoroughly analyzed for each individual checkpoint.
It is now settled law in New Jersey that sobriety checkpoints can be legal, and from a narrow Fourth Amendment standpoint, their nondiscriminatory use is not unreasonable. There are however, unique factors and burdens for the State which can make these matters more difficult to prosecute. I have handled hundreds of these types of cases as both a prosecutor and a defense attorney, and I have learned the limitations the State has in proving these cases. I will use this knowledge to help you and to analyze the requirements imposed upon sobriety checkpoints to your case.
If you have been arrested for DWI as a result of a sobriety checkpoint, or if you would like to learn more about the law in New Jersey, give us a call today at (609) 294-8300 to schedule a free consultation.