Mobile Data Terminal Searches

Many police vehicles have computers now known as mobile data terminals (MDTs). These laptop sized computers permit the officer to perform rapid searches of law enforcement databases. In addition to information concerning active criminal and traffic warrants, the MDT also provides basic information about motorists. By typing in the license plate number, the MDT provides information concerning Continue Reading...

Inventory Searches and Impoundment of Motor Vehicles

As part of the community care taking function, police departments frequently impound motor vehicles for reasons other than law enforcement. Motor vehicle accidents may leave vehicles in a spot where they block traffic or constitute a danger to the driving public. Also, improperly parked vehicles are sometimes removed from the highway for public safety reasons. Motor vehicles are also impounded by Continue Reading...

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) Charges and Mandatory Impoundment of the Vehicle

The impoundment of motor vehicles of suspected intoxicated drivers is now mandatory. Whenever a person has been arrested for a violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 for drunk driving or for refusing to submit to a breath test, the arresting officer must impound the motor vehicle that the defendant was operating. The vehicle must remain in impound for at least 12 hours. The law enforcement agency that Continue Reading...

Permitting an Intoxicated Driver to Drive: Potential Criminal and Civil Liability

A third party who seeks to take custody of an arrested intoxicated driver after he or she has been processed by the police is required to acknowledge the potential civil and criminal liability associated with permitting the intoxicated person to drive. The law enforcement agency releasing the intoxicated driver into the third party's custody must provide the third party with a written notice of Continue Reading...

Reduced Legal Limit in NJ: Opportunity or Pitfall?

The initial reaction to the reduced BAC limit in the state to .08 was that this would pose additional pitfalls for those accused of a DWI in New Jersey. While from a simplistic perspective this may appear to be the case, the tiering for a first offender under the statute has provided an interesting opportunity for the defense. In this regard, the DWI statute, N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 provides for a three Continue Reading...