Suspicion might be good enough to justify a police officer asking a driver to submit to a sobriety test. The Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey has ruled late last month that police officers do not need probable cause to ask a driver to submit to a road side test for driving while intoxicated.
After being pulled over for noise and window tint violations last summer, a New Jersey man was asked to conduct a sobriety test because the officer told him he could smell alcohol on his breath. He then faced charges for driving while intoxicated, a very serious charge. Although the man was not stopped for a violation that would indicate he was intoxicated, a judge ruled that based on other factors, the police officer was able to ask the man to submit to the test.
The appeals court upheld the ruling saying the police only needed, "reasonable articulable suspicion" to expand the scope of the investigation. Because DWI laws are so tightly enforced and many people don't understand what their rights are it might be wise to seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney if you are ever arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.
An experienced New Jersey DWI attorney can look into how the road side test was administered, what actions the police took further investigate the facts of your individual case. They would be able to advise you on what actions to take based on those circumstances.
Source: Thomson Reuters News & Insight, "No probable cause needed for sobriety test: N.J. appeals court," Jennifer Golson, Dec. 23, 2011