Angiuli & Gentile, LLP
We’ll Take It From Here. 347-201-5608

NEW JERSEY MOTORISTS: STOP IN THE NAME OF SUSPICION?

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution reads: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Courts have held that temporarily detaining an individual during an automobile stop amounts to a "seizure" which raises Fourth Amendment protection issues. However, brief investigatory stops, not resulting in an arrest, are permitted when officers have reasonable suspicion of ongoing unlawful or criminal activity. Once an officer begins an investigation sparked by reasonable suspicion, the detainment can only continue if the officer forms reasonable articulable suspicion that the individual is involved in criminal or unlawful activity.

When does a stop become an arrest? Courts have identified a short list of factors including the degree of fear and humiliation the police conduct causes the motorist. The recent New Jerseycase, State v. Bernokeits, tackled the question of whether field sobriety testing is the equivalent of an arrest and therefore must be supported by a higher standard of probable cause. Despite the defendant's contention that they are, theNew Jersey appellate panel refused to find the administration of a field sobriety test to be the equivalent of an arrest.

To date there is no New Jersey authority that imposes a probable cause requirement for the administration of roadside sobriety tests. Courts continue to hold that officers need only reasonable, articulable suspicion of driver intoxication.

- Stefanie L. DeMario, Esq.

Admitted to the New Jersey Bar; New York Bar-Admission Pending

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Success Stories

  • A 43 year old ironworker who fell four stories and sustained injuries to his ankle while installing a staircase settled his claim for $1,500,000.00. The accident was due to the failure of the building owner and general contractor to provide a safe place to work.
  • A construction worker operating an asphalt roller settled his case for $525,000.00 when the edge of the roadway he was paving collapsed into a trench being dug by a subcontractor causing him to sustain injuries to his leg.
  • A 54 year old commuter settled his case against the NYCTA for $1,200,000.00. when he tripped and fell on a subway platform due to the pavement being in disrepair, causing him to fall forward and to strike his head on a train pulling into the station.
  • The estate of a 64 year old woman received a settlement of $425,000.00 after she was struck and killed by a speeding tractor trailer while crossing the street at the intersection of Richmond Terrace and Port Richmond Avenue.
  • A $1,200,000.00 settlement was reached on behalf of a 54 year old man from Staten Island, New York, who, while in the course of his employment as a bus driver, was rear-ended on the Garden State Parkway and caused to suffer injuries to his back and neck as well as a fractured rib and fractured pelvis.
  • A 47-year-old building superintendent who sustained injuries to his head and right side of his body due to a tripping hazard at his job site received a settlement of $300,000.00 from the electrical company performing work at the site.
  • A 43 year old construction worker was caused to sustain injuries to his back, shoulder and hand when the elevator he was riding malfunctioned and dropped 8 floors. He received $350,000.00 in the settlement of his claim against the building owner, maintenance company and elevator company.
  • The administrator of the estate of a 69 year old man who suffered stage four pressure sores while a patient at a Queens nursing home settled the case for $400,000.00 after the man died.
View More

You Can Trust Angiuli & Gentile to Make a Difference

Schedule Your Consultation

Email Us to Get the Answers You Need

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

Office Locations

Staten Island Office
60 Bay Street, Penthouse Floor
Staten Island, NY 10301

Phone: 347-201-5608
Phone: 718-816-0005
Fax: 718-442-6408
Staten Island Law Office Map

Staten Island Office
1481 Hylan Boulevard
Staten Island, NY 10305

Phone: 718-816-0005
Staten Island Law Office Map