Traffic stops are the number one reason you are likely to run into police in your everyday life, according to the United States Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics. It is not surprising considering then that traffic stops are one of the most common reasons that people end up getting arrested in New Jersey. Typical reasons for traffic stops include overly tinted windows, expired registrations, and moving violations like running a stop sign or speeding, but these relatively minor offenses can lead to the police searching your vehicle and investigating you for more serious offenses. In this article, we explore some of the leading criminal charges that can result from an ordinary motor vehicle stop for drivers in NJ. If you found yourself arrested after being pulled over, our distinguished criminal defense lawyers can help. We regularly defend clients charged with drug crimes, weapons offenses, DWI, and many others in Brick Township, Lacey, Berkeley Township, Jackson, Lavallette, Manchester, Toms River, and other Ocean County areas. Contact us at (848) 238-2100 for a free consultation about your specific case today.
DWI Arrests at Traffic Stops
Traffic stops often lead to DWI arrests and charges in New Jersey. In fact, DUI charges are some of the most common charges beyond an ordinary traffic citation, that can result from a stop. New Jersey law prohibits driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or more, and driving with enough alcohol, drugs, or any combination of drugs and alcohol in your system to cause impairment. If police stop you for say, driving a car with a bad muffler or having a tail light out, that stop can rapidly turn into a DWI investigation if officers smell drugs or alcohol on you or in the car when they walk up to the window to speak with you. This is true even if you were driving safely at the time of the stop but there is some part of your car that is violating the traffic code.
Officers may then ask you to step out of the vehicle, administer field sobriety and breathalyzer tests, and potentially even search your vehicle for evidence of recent alcohol or drug use. Although a DWI is a traffic offense, the consequences can be severe. If your routine traffic stop resulted in a DWI arrest, you should consult an attorney about what you can do to defend the case.
Arrested for Drugs at Traffic Stop
Alternatively, if the police stop you for driving recklessly and suspect that you may be using drugs, they may ask you to step out of the vehicle. They will also likely ask for your consent to search your car. The police may also begin searching your vehicle if they see evidence of drug use in plain view; for example, a bong in your back seat, or a glass pipe, needles, or other drug paraphernalia around your center console or in your cupholders. Traffic stops can result in serious controlled dangerous substance charges for possession of marijuana, cocaine possession, prescription drug possession, possession of heroin, or intent to distribute if police identify drugs in your car during a traffic investigation.
Charged with a Gun at a Motor Vehicle Stop
Potentially worst of all, if police stop you for a moving violation, expired registration, or for any other traffic offense, they may ask if you have any weapons in your vehicle. If you volunteer that you have a firearm in the car or if they see a gun in the driver or passenger compartment of the vehicle, officers may then check to see if you are properly licensed or properly storing the firearm in your car. If you are not licensed in the state of New Jersey, the firearm is defaced, or if you are transporting a firearm in a manner that violates the law, you could end up facing serious felony gun charges, all resulting from you speeding or running a stop sign. The most common charge is unlawful possession of a weapon.
Need a Lawyer for Criminal Charge at a Traffic Stop in Lacey Twp
Being charged with a crime at a traffic stop shows how quickly things can spiral out of control. The consequences of being arrested for a gun, CDS in a motor vehicle, or DWI can be devastating. If you find yourself in this situation, you would benefit from consulting with an experienced attorney. Our lawyers can assist you with any of the charges you face after being arrested, as we do for clients virtually every day. Contact us at (848) 238-2100 for more information.